Hundreds of thousands of patient records belonging to the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been re-organised and safely stored, thanks to the expertise of Link 51.
The UK’s leading supplier and manufacturer of steel storage products, pallet racking, static and mobile shelving and lockers, designed and installed a state-of-the-art storage system for the Trust’s two record-holding sites, Cheltenham College’s former Victorian swimming baths and a temporary building on the site of Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals.
Link 51 won the contract through the NHS Supply Chain Framework Agreement for the supply of Office Furniture Solutions. Ref. Number FAG000015351, following a full evaluation process. It was a complex and sensitive project, which Link 51 successfully project managed to ensure minimum disruption to records management staff.
Simon Baugh, Link 51’s Marketing Director, said the Trust decided to update its storage systems, which is managed centrally but holds records at the two locations, because both hospitals experienced an increase in patient numbers and it recognised that its existing system was outdated.
Link 51 was selected because it had extensive experience in health record storage and retrieval, and designing, project-managing and installing large-scale, complex storage projects.
“The Trust needed a much more systematic and planned approach to its records management and we were able to design a system that would not only organise the records in a highly efficient way but would also provide room for thousands of additional records in the future,” said Simon.
The company’s specialist archive storage team drew up a detailed schedule so that routine records management work was able to continue uninterrupted at both sites.
Link 51 refurbished the Gloucester site first, installing mobile racking so that it could move one third of Cheltenham’s patient records to the new storage facility at Gloucester, move another one third to a commercial document storage company, while keeping the remaining records on site.
After completing this initial phase, Link 51 installed at the Gloucester site 18 9.7m-long mobile units and static shelving, which provided a total of 2,850 linear metres of new storage.
Simon explained that because the storage was being installed in an existing pre-fabricated building, his team had to ensure that the floor was suitably strengthened to accommodate a mobile installation.
“The supporting steelwork we designed incorporates a re-levelling system that takes into consideration any movement that may occur on the floor when the system is fully loaded,” explained Simon.
At the Victorian grade II-listed Cheltenham building, Link 51’s design meant that it was able to significantly increase the storage capacity to 6,000 linear metres, with the installation of 24 12.7m-long mobile units and static shelving.
The shelving and storage also incorporates BioCote®, a silver-based anti-microbial agent in the paint finish, which is clinically proven to reduce the risks associated with bacterial cross-contamination from surfaces with high contact frequency.
Thelma Turner, Health Records Manager at the Trust, praised the Link 51 team for the smooth process.
“From designing each system to project managing both installations, Link 51 carried out the work at each site with the utmost professionalism, ensuring that records management staff and their routine had minimal disruption during the process,” she said.
“We are very pleased with the outcome, which has provided badly needed extra capacity and will help to increase our overall efficiency.”
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