By politics.co.uk staff
Not enough doctors realise the production of some NHS supplies involves child labour, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
It has launched a campaign seeking to make the fifth of doctors involved in procuring NHS supplies more aware of the ethical dimension of their choices.
Eight out of ten doctors are supportive of the NHS buying goods which are ethically sourced, but just one out of ten are aware which medical supplies are fair and ethically produced.
The BMA said some workers in the developing world risked serious injury or even death to make medical supplies for the NHS.
"There is also evidence that children as young as seven are risking their lives to supply us with equipment to save British lives," the BMA's Mahmood Bhutta said.
"We want to provide doctors with information they need to encourage the NHS to look at alternatives so that the lives of workers in the developing world are not put at risk making medical supplies for the health service."
The BMA has set up a new website, fairmedtrade.org.uk, which will help doctors improve their procurement practices.
It asks doctors to form an 'ethical trade interest group' in their organisation and ask their chief executive to incorporate ethical procurement into their institution's policy.