Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital and community health services in North Tyneside and hospital, community health and adult social care services in Northumberland.

Client Requirements

Patient records are one of the most important tools in a hospital, and the Trust relies heavily on the clinician’s notes of its patients.

Stored in folders, these records hold a wealth of information about the patient and their history of treatments and diagnoses. Without access to these records, patient care can be seriously compromised.

With an estimated 1 million case notes, the storage space at both Northumbria House, and Wansbeck Hospital was running very low  which  was causing delays  due to  the doctors and nurses searching for physical documents on the tightly packed shelves.

The records needed to be moved to a larger facility which would allow for the addition of new records, and the future-proofing of its records management process.


The relocation of one million case notes from two locations required very careful planning.

The files had to be packed sequentially, so that the removals team knew where every file was at every stage of the process in case the notes were needed by the medical teams.  Security was paramount, Pickfords had to ensure there were no losses during the relocation process.

A racking contractor was placed on-site to arrange all the racking systems to be moved and set them at the correct level,

This was particularly important to avoid delays to the project, because the Pickfords team as working within the constraints of its Covid-19 safety procedures.

A large percentage of the case notes were live, and the folders had to be accessible if needed during the relocation. Our move manager together with the NHS project team discussed and agreed on a process for emergency access during the project. This involved recording the start and end file numbers in each crate so that they could be easily tracked when required. 


The relocation took place over 2 phases. The first would require the sequential packing of circa 168,000 planned merge case notes and placed in the open area next to the main case notes. They were then sequentially unpacked at the Trust’s facility in Seaton Delaval, Whitley Bay This part of the project had to be done in the weeks before the main move.

The second move required the sequential pack, move and unpacking of 817,000 case notes onto the racking system set-up at Seaton Delaval.

The 168,000 case notes were then merged into the main 817,000 case notes by a separate experienced team so that the sequence would be maintained.

All crates holding the files were lidded, security sealed and audited before leaving each site, and Pickfords took all the necessary precautions to prevent damage to the existing properties at both sites, as well as property along the move route

Approach to health and safety in a 'live environment'

All Pickfords staff allocated to this contract were fully aware and complied with the site rules of Northumbria Healthcare Trust for contractors working on-site (including Health & Safety, and COVID 19 regulations, alarms, fire precautions, entry and exit points from each site).


At the end of the project, Pickfords had delivered a complete solution for the sequential relocation of a million case notes, without loss or disruption to the hospitals and their staff and within the defined deadlines. 

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