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Golden Returns for Silver Surfers

15 July 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

Precious metals specialists are calling on NHS trusts to assess their stocks of X-ray film to take advantage of a recent massive rise in prices in the recycled market.

Operators in the sector report a ‘staggering’ 63% increase in the price of silver in only five months.

Precious metals which are not linked to currency, are an attractive prospect for investors during times of uncertainty. Often, when the value of UK sterling drops, gold and silver rise. Gold has seen an increase of 24% in the past year, while silver has risen by over 30% in just the last month.

Many recycling firms offer a rebate based on the silver embedded in the film which in the right market conditions, can generate a sizeable income.

Charlie Betts, MD, Stephen Betts Group, a precious metals firm which recovers silver from used x-rays, has advised that for those Trusts looking to exploit the market for the best rebate deal, the current climate offers the most favourable opportunity for some time.

“The current price of silver has risen so dramatically that it makes real economic sense for trusts to thoroughly examine their stocks of film,” he commented. “We have found that even once exit fees are paid, many Trusts are still profiting from the rebate system. Those which manage their own records would receive a direct profit, while also freeing valuable real estate.”

Operators pay up to £1,000 per tonne of film, depending on the current market price of silver. “Boxes of records tend to weigh in the region of 15kg, of which up to half will be actual film,” explained Betts. “The typical value of a box of x-ray records can therefore be worth up to £7.50.”

With storage company exit fees often standing at around £3 per box, Trusts looking to reduce storage costs and maintain up to date records are able to comfortably pay off exit fees while still generating substantial additional revenue.

“NHS estates have all been charged with finding ways to be more cost effective so those wanting to take things a step further have started to look for more creative opportunities,” observed Betts. “Taking simple steps to ensure that contractors offer the best deal with the best use of resources, will reap dividends and the result will mean more funding available for frontline services.”

Picture: Significant rises in the price of silver should make NHS Trusts look at embedded silver in used x-rays

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 15 July 2016


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