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Who Are The British Healthcare Trade Association?

Posted by Jamie McKay on August 26, 2020

the image shows a group of medical professionals working together

If you have ever seen the BHTA logo on our mobility aids website or on other health care and disability aids sites, you may have wondered what they do and who they are.


The British Healthcare Trade Association (BHTA) was founded in the early 1900s and as they say on their website:

“BHTA members - almost 500 companies employing over 17,000 people – make or sell assistive technology products that help people live more independently. These range from wheelchairs and scooters to stairlifts, seating and positioning products, patient support surfaces, rehabilitation products, stoma and continence products, prosthetics, orthotics and augmentative communication devices for people with limited speech.”

Members of the BHTA must adhere to their stringent code of practice, which is actually the only one in this mobility sector that is monitored by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).

All BHTA members must sign up to the Code, which demonstrates commitment to high levels of customer care that go above and beyond the standard legal obligations.

So, if you do see the BHTA logo on a website it is a particularly good indicator that they are going to be a company that can most definitely be trusted.

the image shows the word healthcare spelt out in white tiles on a wall

A Brief History Of The BHTA

Not to be confused with the The Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, or the The Bingham Heritage Trails Association, the BHTA was founded in 1917.

1917 was a busy year to say the least, World War One was being fought and in its third year, the British Royal Family renounced their German names and titles, adopting the name of Windsor, Albert Einstein invented the Cosmological Constant and the first jazz records were recorded, "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

On 13th June 1917, the day of the worst air raid by Germany on London in World War One, Edwin Arnold gathered a meeting of manufacturers. The war was affecting everyone of course and had caused numerous problems in getting hold of materials in order to manufacture anything. Businesses were suffering and Edwin Arnold thought they would have a better chance of survival if they all worked together.

This association gained in popularity very quickly and they picked a chairman, Arthur Down, from Down Bros. Limited, with Edwin Arnold becoming the treasurer.

Initially called the Surgical Instrument Manufacturers Association, then the British Surgical Trades Association, before eventually being called the same name as it is now, the BHTA.

Throughout the last century they had their ups and downs but continued to grow and adapt with the changing times, through the Second World War, the introduction of the NHS, changes in business, governments, and technology.

Now, in 2020 as we said earlier, the BHTA are the only healthcare association in the industry to be approved by The Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

the image shows a man signing a contract

What Is The BHTA Code Of Practice?

The BHTA Code Of Practice is an industry standard that companies need to meet in order to become members of the BHTA.

Karim Uddin, the Business Development Manager for the BHTA explains that their Code Of Practice:

“Is at the heart of everything we do.  It sets out how we expect our members to behave and offers customers reassurance that they will be dealing with a company they can trust.  We actively police what our members do, and we offer a complaints mediation and arbitration service if things do go wrong and you have exhausted the company’s complaints procedure.”

The document can be viewed and downloaded here. You will see that is incredibly comprehensive in protecting, customers, workers and making sure that their members don’t just do the minimum required legally.

The standards set out in the Code Of Practice are very rigorous, so a lot of work is required in order for a company to be given the BHTA seal of approval.

Their website is now a brilliant resource of news, information, and guidance for the mobility aids and healthcare industry. The BHTA do run annual award ceremonies and exhibitions but obviously like so much of 2020 they have been postponed. They have promised to be back in 2021, bigger and better than ever!

Just like the rest of the world, the BHTA have had to adapt to life in a pandemic and just as they did through the Second World War they have learned to change their focus and be an invaluable help for their members.

The CEO of the BHTA explains here how they have got through the past six months of Coronavirus and how it has impacted the disability aids industry.

Ability Superstore Are BHTA Approved

Here at Ability Superstore we are enormously proud to say that we have the BHTA seal of approval. If you speak to any one of our team you will see that they go above and beyond to make sure that customers are happy and get exactly the advice and support regarding the healthcare and mobility products they need.

You can browse our thousands of mobility aids and give the team a call free on 0800 255 0498 or 0161 85 00 884 to find out just how important good customer service is to us.