Innovation the key as Sidhil beds in string of contracts

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WHEN family healthcare equipment firm Sidhil opened for business in the late 19th century, hospitals were spartan places, and the National Health Service was just a liberal pipe dream.

The Yorkshire-based hospital bed maker has survived a host of financial crises by innovating.

It has created around 30 jobs since August, after securing a string of contracts which will make life easier for thousands of patients. The Halifax company saw its full year turnover rise last year from £15.9m to £17.4m, on the back of demand for products such as couches for GP’s surgeries and hi-tech hospital beds.

Four years ago, the company’s annual turnover was £10.6m.

Clive Siddall, the sales and marketing director at Sidhil, said that, over the last six months, the company had hired between 25 and 30 people, including technicians and administrators. It now has 140 staff.

Mr Siddall said this growth was due to improvements in the company’s product portfolio.

He added: “We are the only remaining UK-based volume manufacturer of hospital beds, and we remain totally committed to retaining production here in the UK.

“Our UK facility means we can ramp up production to meet short lead times, and also ensures we achieve the levels of quality control required by customers in the UK and further afield.

“We are very confident about 2012 turnover and anticipate growth.”

Sidhil’s latest hospital ward bed, the Independence Innov8 which was launched in 2010, is gaining market share.

Recent contracts have included sales of 450 beds to NHS Trusts in West Yorkshire.

A new contract has also been signed for 650 of the special ‘low’ version of the bed.

The company has a long-standing commitment to research and development, and uses computer technology to speed up production. Sidhil’s products include beds and mattresses, for hospitals, community loan stores and nursing and residential care homes.

It makes couches, plinths and treatment chairs for GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals.

The company also produces equipment trolleys, which are found in hospitals and surger- ies.

A Sidhil spokesman said it was committed to local sourcing where practical, in order to reduce “bed miles”.