30 Years of The Hilditch Group – The Premiere Medical Auctioneer in Britain

The Hilditch Group celebrate its 30th anniversary this Summer, making it the longest running medical equipment auctioneer in Britain. Established in June 1990 by Mike and Nicky Hilditch, it has grown to be the largest auctioneer of healthcare equipment in Europe and a key partner to the majority of NHS trusts in the UK, working as a sales agent on their behalf to maximise asset value for the sale and removal of all medical assets.

Working as a freelance auctioneer in the UK and South Africa, Mike was struck that the standards of professionalism varied considerably across auction houses. In essence anyone can call themselves an auctioneer with no formal training and no qualifications, leading to a disparity between companies and the level of service that they offered. Mike and Nicky made it their aim to establish the most professionally managed commercial auction house in the UK. An accomplishment that they have undoubtably achieved, with professionalism being very much at the heart of the company’s ethos today. The organisation was originally set up as a general and commercial salesroom; offering sales in plant and machinery, general household and antiques and commercial catering equipment. In the early days the organisation even held sales in horses, a throwback from Mike’s days working in livestock auctions. Starting with a modest 5 staff members, this quickly grew to 8 in the first year and now employs almost 50.

It was during the second year whilst clearing a kitchen for a local hospital that Mike noticed whilst the hospital was happy to sell the catering equipment, they would, however, not permit the sale of redundant surgical trolleys, instead these were simply thrown into a skip. From that moment the seed of an idea was planted and the Hilditch Group started researching the medical market. At that time the majority of hospitals disposed of all their medical equipment, regardless of condition, due to a general fear of liability. It took several years for Hilditch as an organisation to persuade a handful of hospitals to consider the resale of their redundant medical equipment as an option. The equipment was sold to a large number of overseas buyers, who normally would not have been able to afford new equipment. Most of these buyers are still trusted customers today. As a result, huge quantities of equipment were given an extended life, landfill and recycling was reduced. These days the reasons for resale of medical equipment have taken on even more pertinence as we are all much more aware of the waste in our society. The expansion of the company was initially slow as NHS trusts took a long time to consider the implications of resale. The introduction of the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) legislation sped the process up, as hospitals considered how they could reduce waste and fulfil their obligations.

Many new hospitals were built over subsequent years as part of the PFI initiative, which resulted in large numbers of redundant assets being surplus to requirements. The Hilditch Group was invited to work with the Department of Health to promote the re-use of equipment as part of the NHS’ waste management strategy. As the Hilditch Group offers a complete site clearance service they manage the sale and disposal of the entire contents of old hospital sites and with a fleet of their own vehicles and experienced drivers, the Hilditch Group can clear medical equipment from a site of any size.

Innovation has always been key to the company’s success, they were one of the first auction houses to offer Timed Online Auctions, developing their own bidding system years before any other auctioneers. Mike also was involved in establishing the National Association of Auctioneers and Valuers (NAVA), an organisation dedicated to improving the professional status of auctioneers and upholding the highest standards of service delivery. Now a Fellow of the Association, he is very keen that his valuers take the NAVA exams and carry out regular CPD courses to improve their skills.

The Hilditch Group have continued to innovate and add customer value over the decades including the addition of the in-house medical engineering department around 20 years ago. The qualified and accredited medical engineering staff have extensive experience and provide a wide range medical engineering services and support for both on and off-site requirements, including: long term maintenance of medical equipment, with planned preventative maintenance contracts (PPMC’s), equipment testing and condition reporting, inventories and assessments, and medical decontamination.

In the past 10 years the company has grown exponentially, expanding its customer base to include, not only most of the public and hospitals, but also manufacturers, banks and lease companies. The organisation has expanded into western Europe with offices in Spain (Hilditch Iberia), France and Germany. This growth does not seem to be slowing down either as the Hilditch Group now has over 20,000 registered buyers from 182 different countries, and can guarantee the largest number of buyers for your redundant medical equipment. With around 30 individual auctions and over 2,000 lots of high-quality used and ex-demonstration items per month. the Hilditch Group is the foremost authority in the market for the re-sale of bio-medical devices, helping clients generate revenue and release equity from old equipment.

The Hilditch Group has also created a medical asset valuation tool in a software-as-a-service solution for those managing end of life values for a large number of medical assets, such as lease companies and large private hospitals.

No other medical device asset manager has such and extensive range of services for your health care establishment; the Hilditch Group remains the premiere medical equipment auctioneer in the United Kingdom. To find out more about our services or to discover how the Hilditch Group can facilitate the resale of your used medical equipment, visit our website to find out more: www.hilditchgroup.com

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