In June, the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) got a new boss, Mandie Lavin, an experienced barrister who wants to put care and quality at the heart of the group’s messaging. She succeeded interim chief Andrew Barker, who filled the position since the departure of Tracey White in March.
Ms. Lavin said: “the BHTA has an essential role to play in helping to fairly promote the interests of nearly 500 member companies and ensuring that they have a very high reputation for serving the interests of their many vulnerable customers,” and added that the body should “speak up loudly and effectively on their behalf in order to support their successful growth and ensure that people can continue to buy with confidence from BHTA member companies.”
This is welcome news, from our perspective. The BHTA – of which Shire Mobility is a longtime member – is the main consumer care body for our industry. It is, in some cases, the only recourse for customers who have been given a bad deal to gain some measure of justice. Given that the mobility sector deals with a number of people in vulnerable positions, this is even more important than it is in many other industries.
Members of the BHTA are expected to live up to high standards. And having membership in the organisation should be a clear sign to consumers that they are dealing with a reputable company that passes muster, and is accountable to someone they can easily contact.
The signs are that Ms. Lavin takes this position seriously, and will work to foster greater awareness of the BHTA’s crucial role in ensuring good outcomes for customers of the mobility industry. All credible and reputable suppliers of mobility aids should be reassured by that news – as should the people who rely on them.
Shire Mobility is not the only industry voice that values the BHTA’s role in mediating between professionals and the public and ensuring high standards of care. Prominent industry voice Dave Thompson MBE (who runs Warrington Disability partnership) said:
“Certainly for me, as a disabled person, I know that if I go on a holiday and it goes wrong I call ABTA, I know if my energy goes wrong I call Ofgem. The BHTA – are they not the watchdog of the mobility trade? Well then why don’t I know about them?”
Hopefully, Ms. Lavin will increase the public’s awareness of this valuable organisation and in doing so empower the vulnerable to ask for more from their mobility providers.