Few principals would argue with the premise that increasing levels of business bureaucracy, as well as ever more stringent clinical regulations, are demanding more and more of their precious time.
The twin imperatives for any dental practice, delivering high-class care while still balancing the books, can sometimes seem secondary to filling in forms.
In these circumstances, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball with equipment and material purchases and it is often the case that, despite taking advice and careful consideration, it’s not until equipment has been in regular use that its compatibility with the individual practice or practitioner’s modus operandi can be proven.
So, what do you do with expensive items in perfect order, which are simply not right for you?
There are, of course, regulatory constraints on the disposal of unwanted clinical equipment. CQC Outcome 11 states ‘the devices used to meet their (the patients’) needs… are available when they are required for use (and) disposed of or recycled, safely and securely.’ 
With CQC inspections to ensure compliance, inevitably there are charges for the safe disposal or recycling of specialist clinical equipment.
The commonsense alternative is to sell your unwanted equipment to other dental professionals or related businesses.
With a little research you can easily establish the approximate second hand value of your redundant purchases or replaced equipment, and so feel confident you are not only solving a problem, but will receive the proper value for what you are offering.
Although all dentists would agree that some healthcare items should always be bought new, buying second hand can be the ideal solution when money is tight.
However, with used clinical equipment it is vital to ensure that the vendor enjoys a good reputation and that the unit is both fit for purpose and appropriate for your needs. Wherever possible, try to purchase directly from other dental professionals in order to guarantee the quality of the purchase.
The ideal disposal or purchase arena for redundant dental products is a website dedicated to the dental market, such as the Dental Stock X-Change, which is an online marketplace designed to give all dental professionals an opportunity to exchange professional products in a secure, reputable environment.
The Dental Stock X-Change offers secondhand dental products at greatly reduced prices, with quality assured because the sellers are themselves working in the dental industry. It can be frustrating to discover you have made an inappropriate investment, but a rapid resale will recoup at least some of the expense and perhaps enable the purchase second hand, even with a tight budget, of the ideal replacement.
More and more principals are exploiting the value of the secondhand market to keep their practices profitable and up to date as competition increases and patients tighten their belts.
1. Edited for content; for full regulations please refer to the CQC Guidelines manual.