ABHI Membership

In Memory of Maurice Freeman

We are reporting on the passing of Maurice Freeman, who died peacefully at his home near Oxford on Saturday 10th February.

Maurice’s early career in the industry was with H.G.East & Co, initially as Technical Director before becoming Managing Director, where his prime interest was the development of ventilators.

While Managing Director of H.G.East & Co, Maurice was instrumental in the formation of Barema in 1976 together with BOC, Blease, Penlon, Cape Engineering and MIE, and was appointed Chairman. Through the Association, these companies were able to begin building working relationships with the Medical Devices Agency (now MHRA), BSI and the Association of Anaesthetists (AAGBI) in particular. Maurice did not confine his activity just to Barema as he was a Director of BHEC for 4 years, and then BHTIC – the forerunner of ABHI. Links were also forged with European Trade Associations. Maurice remained Chairman until his retirement from Barema in August 2012, with the membership standing close to fifty companies.

In 1991, Maurice joined the European Commission as Technical Expert, working on the drafting of the Medical Device Directive. Subsequently he joined CEN and concentrated on the development of quality standards, both within Europe and internationally. In 1997 Maurice was appointed Chairman of Study Group 1 of the Global Harmonisation Task Force, which sets out the pre-market technical requirements for medical devices. The workings of GHTF also encompassed the establishment of the Global Medical Device Nomenclature database, with the aim of improving patient safety. Maurice held the post of Chief Executive Officer of the GMDN Agency, and the database today is used in well over fifty countries.

Maurice was awarded ‘The Pask Certificate of Honour’ by AAGBI in ‘recognition of his wise and valuable advice to AAGBI over many years in the pursuit of the highest standards in the manufacture of equipment for anaesthesia and resuscitation’, and then given AAGBI Honorary Membership on his retirement from Barema. BSI awarded him their ‘Distinguished Service Certificate’ for ‘long and valued contribution to the development of British, European and International Standards’.

Resulting from his fifty years of working in the field of medical devices, particularly anaesthesia, respiratory and ventilation equipment, Maurice was a true expert. He excelled in the promotion of best practice, and held the respect of both manufacturers and regulators around the world. His contribution cannot be underestimated.