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Storing and managing NHS Trust’s medical records

This hospital had a challenge around how they stored and managed their physical medical records. Historically, files had been put into whatever available space was available to them. Consequently, records were being held in 3 locations, all on different sites, which presented a logistical and accessibility issue.

Ultimately, they were successful in securing funding to build a central repository for their files and a new, purpose built, records store was delivered.

We then had to work out how to get 22,000 linear metres of individual files (equivalent to some 66,000 cartons) transferred from these three locations and delivered into the central file store, whilst continuing to deliver a retrieval service to the Trust and to enable easy access for the future.

This was a sizeable logistical challenge, which needed to be completed within four months.

How we helped

Crown provided three separate options to the trust, who chose for Crown to provide all of the materials, transport logistics, labour, and expertise to support the refiling of files to the racking in the new facility.

Crown undertook a series of site surveys to assess accessibility, logistics, service levels, timescales, appropriate resourcing levels, and process protocols. Our project management team met with the key stakeholders within the Trust to address all of the above and more. Before a single file moved, we had agreed a full programme of events, reporting needs, and key milestones, against which we could measure and monitor the project with the client.

Crown provided a team of fully vetted personnel to remove files from the current racking and place them into crates in terminal digit order. These were then relocated to the new facility, where they were transferred to the new racking by a separate team. We also worked with the hospital staff to assist in configuring the racking in the new facility so that we knew where to put all of the transferred files to ensure that they could be accessed and retrieved from day one.

Every day, a full inventory of items transferred was created and shared with the team. This enabled us to make sure that, should a file be requested, which perhaps was in transit between the various locations, we would be able to go to the relevant crate and process it for delivery by the client’s team, to the hospital.

All files were ultimately moved from the three locations into the single facility, using the same terminal digit coding that was previously utilised, so that records personnel were familiar with the referencing methodology and knew exactly where files were being stored. This is so that they could undertake the delivery of services to the various clinics within the hospital.

Initially, daily meetings were agreed to ensure that everything was on track. Over time though, the need for a daily session was reduced and these became weekly events. Ultimately, we worked with the Trust to confirm that each of the locations was fully emptied and that all files were in place in the new records library. We undertook a full de-brief of the programme and were able to sign off with the client that all aspects of the project had been completed according to plan.


Flexibility was crucial to the success of this project. The trust needed a team that could work with them through their own internal challenges, to deliver a complete solution. Crown achieved all of this within the timescales required and within the budget established.

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