Medical device manufacturing for the Australian Assistive Technology sector

Pelican Pool Hoist with Aquatic Wheelchair

Throughout this COVID19 Crisis, it’s really highlighted the need to invest in and commit further to Australian Manufacturing.

The crisis conditions have exposed supply chain issues, due to reliance on overseas product, but certainly highlights a positive to bring some focus back to conversations about quality and pricing and how we could better support our own manufacturing sector, ready for the ‘new world’ after COVID19.

Our business, Para Mobility, is a Medical device Manufacturer in the Assistive Technology sector, that caters to people who have an acquired injury, a physical disability or someone with age related mobility issues, so we are encouraged to see the Australian Manufacturing a hot topic of conversation in Australia, albeit, unfortunately inspired by urgent need in this COVID19 Crisis.

Recent news has highlighted that Med-Con was the only medical face mask manufacturer left in Australia and when the COVID19 crisis faced Australia, they were able to scale up from producing 2 million a year to 50 million, with some help from the Defence Force – what a great opportunity for Australian Manufacturing via Med-Con to have a moment to shine and be able to help protect so many health workers, and the general public!

There has also been a lot of talk about quality and having adequately tested and approved products, by the TGA, which is the Government agency that is responsible for regulating goods, medicines, vitamins, medical devices and more. This approval means the product meet Australian standards of quality, safety and efficacy and are included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

We see many imported competitor products, such as Pool Access Hoists for people with a disability, that are not TGA approved. This means they have not invested in their products heavily, to ensure their safety and quality to pass these approvals and most likely can offer a substantially lower price point.

To gain TGA approval on Medical devices there is a lot of time and testing required to meet these Australian standards requirements, which ensures that people being enabled by the equipment that Para Mobility manufactures, are also, most importantly safe and secondly, of the highest quality to ensure longevity of use and value for money.

There have been a multitude of articles written in the last few weeks and even TV news highlighting this and our friends at @AustralianMade are doing a great job at showcasing case studies of other great Australian Made businesses weathering these strange times due to having a Australian Supply chain still in operation.

Many recent articles have been written lately, some included below, highlighting the risks that outsourcing Manufacturing overseas has presented recently, but how we are all also starting to look at how we can improve our commitment to Australian jobs and the manufacturing sector to open up more opportunities in future.

We\’d love to see these discussions continues in future after the COVID19 Crisis and also get some traction to help in getting Australian Manufactruing back on it\’s feet and running, so we can support our own workers and supply our own country as feasibly as possible.

SMH Article 

Coronavirus leaves local manufacturers exposed

“Federal Industry Minister Karen Andrews says Australia needs to be self-sufficient in making essential medical kit, like face masks and ventilators, with the COVID-19 pandemic raising questions about the local manufacturing sector\’s ability to deal with future crises.

“What we’ve learned out of this is that there are some things that we have to be self-sufficient in. So let’s not look to what’s going to give us the cheapest price,” Ms Andrews told The Age and the Herald.

Asked whether more federal support was needed for manufacturers of important medical equipment she said “I think that’s certainly something that we should look at“.

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