About us

Salts Healthcare is one of the UK’s oldest family-owned companies. The Salt family has always had the welfare of everyday people at heart, and those values have earned us a reputation as one of the friendliest companies in healthcare. Our positive outlook and enthusiastic approach to Stoma Care, together with a commitment to offer the best possible level of care at the most affordable prices, has helped us create our ‘extended family’.

Here you’ll learn about our past and how we’ve combined traditional values with a truly international service; for the future we aim to extend our family even further, developing stoma products for overseas markets, investing in our people and ensuring our ongoing success.

1700sMore info

This is where it all began – the company was founded in 1701, brothers John and William starting out as apprentice locksmiths in Wolverhampton before John became established as a surgeons’ instrument maker and cutler.

Around this time – 1750 – the first colostomy was carried out by William Cheselden on Margaret White.

In 1755 the company passed to John’s son William, who started manufacturing new medical devices in addition to domestic cutlery.

Having moved the business to larger premises in east Birmingham in 1788, William died in 1793 and Richard Salt took over.

1800sMore info

With business booming, the factory moved again in the early part of the century to Dale End in Birmingham with a second site at Coleshill Street, followed by another move to larger premises (in Bull Street) in 1845 – the year Salts became Cutlers to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. In 1867 Salts were also granted the Royal Warrant to become Cutlers to the Emperor of the French, by which time they also made surgical instruments and a wide range of appliances for conditions from amputations to back complaints, including the patented Orthonemic Truss.

In the latter part of the century, Salts began to concentrate on medical products and ceased production of cutlery.

1900sMore info

In 1900 the factory moved to Cherry Street in Birmingham with demand for medical products growing, and the onset of World War One led to the manufacture of artificial limbs for survivors of the trenches.

The formation of the National Health Service in 1945 meant a refocus away from limbs and medical instruments, and in 1948 Edward Salt started working with Professor Bryan Brooke of Birmingham General Hospital to hand-produce ostomy bags (Professor Brooke perfected the eversion technique for suturing stomas).

In 1956 Salts became the first UK manufacturer of ostomy appliances, and had the idea for patient ‘clubs’ leading to the formation of the Ileostomy Association. It also becomes the first company to employ ostomists to help teach stoma care to new patients.

Now dedicated to stoma care, Salts’ nationwide home delivery service for ostomists, Medilink, was launched in 1989 and in 1996 the company’s new R&D facility developed modern hydrocolloid pouches, leading to new era.

2000sMore info

Having become one of the leading suppliers of stoma care products, in 2003 Salts became the first ostomy company to be recognised by The British Skin Foundation for its development of comfortable, secure and skin-friendly adhesives.

In the following year the Confidence® Comfort range was launched, with new features for extra comfort, security and confidence, and in 2006, the innovative SecuPlast® Hydro skin-friendly hydrocolloid flange extender became one of company’s fastest growing accessory products.

In 2008, Salts patented the Dermacol® stoma collar, providing a leak-proof barrier around the base of the stoma to prevent output coming into contact with skin. This was followed in 2009 by our flexible wafer patent – as the Confidence® Natural range, our biggest seller – and in 2010, Salts Community Stoma Care Nurses were introduced to give patients support in own homes.

2013 saw two more huge steps forward for Salts. Firstly the launch of Confidence Natural Soft Convex, the Company‘s most successful brand to date, which offers our stickiest, softest and most flexible convex wafer ever. The second success was being awarded the “Dermatologically Accredited” mark from the Skin Health Alliance – even more assurance of the skin-friendliness of our hydrocolloids.

Today the company employs over 500 people, with distributors in 22 countries; and three members of the Salt family – Philip, Robert and Peter – are still on our Board of Directors.