Medical device companies are not collectively refusing to sign the NHS Supplies Year 2000 deed (News, page 7, 2 July). The Association of British Health-Care Industries has advised its members that an alternative declaration should be submitted.

Our advice was based on the fact that there are two separate issues: equipment failure, and the inability to trade and supply normally. The second will apply to anyone supplying the NHS.

As far as potential equipment failure is concerned, we believe that the companies involved have either already addressed this issue or are taking steps to do so.

The medical device industry believes that the most important and immediate action to be taken is to ensure that products themselves should pose no health and safety risks.

Responsible manufacturers will take all reasonable steps to ensure their products function as intended and will do the same with regard to business systems.

ABHI has no disagreement with the intent of the NHS Supplies document. Our guidance is designed to be helpful to both suppliers and purchasers and a copy was sent to NHS Supplies which was fully aware of the ABHI document and has no fundamental objection to it.

Clive M Powell

Technical manager

Association of British Health-Care Industries