Case Studies

CellNass’s success has been built on delivering measurable benefits to our customers. This can be seen through the feedback we’ve received over recent years.

Plymouth Hospital

Another Happy Customer…   Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest hospital in the South West Peninsula, providing comprehensive secondary and tertiary healthcare. They are the region's major trauma centre, with a secondary care catchment population of 450,000 and a wider peninsula population of almost 2,000,000 people.

The Cellular and Anatomical Pathology Department, located at Derriford Hospital, incorporates Histopathology, Cytopathology, Neuropathology, and Anatomical Pathology.

The Department receives approximately 36,000 surgical biopsies, 2,000 non-cervical samples, and undertakes 1,100 post-mortem examinations each year.

Here, Steve Blunden, Histopathology Services Manager shares his experience of using CellNass:

“Prior to becoming a CellNass customer, the Department’s ever-growing volume of slides, blocks and paper documents were being stored across six different rooms at an offsite location, all a distance from one another.

Although everything was relatively well catalogued, there is no doubt that some of our materials were occasionally randomly stored without taking into account their different sizes.

On meeting with CellNass, we were impressed by their knowledge about the storage requirements of a Cellular and Anatomical Pathology department such as ours. Using the same terminology reassured us that our material would be in safe hands.

We completed the paperwork and welcomed the CellNass team to Derriford to conduct the necessary assessments for the moving and uplifting of our material. Shortly after, the CellNass uplift team came to our site, and removed everything in its existing state, and indexed/repackaged it back at their site for archiving. It was a big job for the team, but I found the planning and preparation to be fantastic, resulting in it being conducted with minimal disruption and completed in a short period of time.

Since moving our archiving over to CellNass, we have been very pleased with the service received. Using the CellTrak system, we have found material recalls to be quick and very easy, something that previously could take our staff a few hours to undertake, or indeed I would have had to go on my way home. 

We are delighted to have moved to CellNass and would recommend them for any other Cellular Pathology laboratories looking for an outsourced archiving solution.”


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Royal Cornwall Hospital

The uplift process was very smooth and CellNass organised everything – we even get cardboard storage boxes as part of our contract.

Valerie Rodd is the experienced Histopathology Manager at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust in Truro. She’s been part of the team there for 25 years, and during this period they’ve become regular and loyal CellPath customers. We were delighted then when the RCHT became CellNass’ latest client and were keen to ask Val a few questions in order to discover the reasons behind the decision to adopt the CellNass solution.

“It wasn’t a snap decision!” Val began. “It’s the result of discussion and a fair degree of persuasion on my part over a number of years before deciding it was the right solution for us.”

The Royal Cornwall Hospital serves a dispersed resident population of approximately 500,000 people. Val manages a 23-strong team of staff and they receive approx 35,000 histology samples per year with a varied
workload, encompassing “all the specialities you’d expect in a general hospital, barring neuropathology”. There is a well-equipped Biomedical Science dissection lab, the hospital possesses full Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) and is HTA registered.

The cytology department on site receives over 50,000 vital cytology samples.

With such a large quantity of material being taken, and all of it requiring proper indexing and storing, it’s no surprise storage space was a chief reason for the decision:

“Previously blocks and slides were stored on site, but we were simply running out of space,” explained Val. “We did move the material into temporary on-site storage but in the long-term, it simply wasn’t a viable solution. We looked into those self-storage solutions but there were a number of drawbacks such as no HTA accreditation and a stipulation that due to the weight of the material that it could only be stored on the ground floor, with no guarantee of future availability.”

The process of choosing CellNass began in earnest when CellPath’s Myrna Morgan, Territory Manager, and Colin Brewer, CellPath’s HTA Designated Individual, visited the site and provided a quote for the initial uplift and subsequent ongoing archiving. After that – and having convinced the Trust that it was the best option – the customer relationship began.

“The process was very efficient and CellNass organised everything – we even get cardboard storage boxes as part of our contract… ‘Moving Day’ went very smoothly with good teamwork between CellNass and my team – and Myrna overseeing everything. I was very pleased despite the fact life was made more tricky by a heavy downpour that day!

Since using CellNass we’ve had more retrievals than expected. In fact, we had requests for retrievals when the initial uplift was only just on its way from our site and hadn’t even been indexed yet!

I thought this might prove problematic but getting the requested items back was actually very efficient and accurate. We’ve sent 25 years worth of stored blocks/slides to CellNass (with the most recent 5-years staying here at the RCHT) and I’m pleased the future storage of our material has been resolved and confident we’ll benefit from an efficient and reliable service”.

We are always happy to welcome customers to have a look at our facilities - if you'd like a tour, please use the form on the right and a member of our customer care team will be in touch to arrange an invitation to visit.

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West Suffolk Hospital - Slide & Block Storage

One reason customers are sometimes reluctant to change to CellNass is that they’re worried about the disruption and difficulty it may cause to employees and workflow. After all, removing (in many instances) decades worth of slides and blocks can appear an arduous undertaking.

Simon Wiggley, Deputy Histopathology Laboratory manager at West Suffolk Hospital, kindly agreed to share his experiences.

How did you hear about CellNass

We’d been aware of them for 7-8 years but at that time we still had some space for samples. This space was more recently re-appropriated by another department – it became clear we needed a solution.

How did you end up working with CellNass?

We got the ball rolling, they sent us a quote and we accepted. Bob’s your uncle!

And were there difficulties in the transition?

Not at all. They came to our site for 2-3 days, working diligently and causing minimal disruption. The whole process was very smooth.

Is the on-going service good?

We do fairly regular retrievals simply by filling out an electronic form. We get a very fast response to that and the samples are generally returned in 1-2 days.

Would you ever consider choosing another provider?

There might be companies doing similar things but none that have CPA and HTA authorisation. It’s important we have an audit trail that shows we’re compliant. CellNass’ experience and reputation is also reassuring.

Have you ever visited the CellNass site?

Not yet, no – it’s a bit of a trek from Sussex!

We are always happy to welcome customers to have a look at our facilities - if you'd like a tour, please use the form on the right and a member of our customer care team will be in touch to arrange an invitation to visit.

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Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading

Amanda Babington, the Head Biomedical Scientist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, talks to a member of the CellNass team about her experience as a new client of the CellNass archiving management service.

When I spoke to Amanda she had that weekend completed a half marathon and wasn’t happy about it.

“I’ve hurt my foot, the weather was horrid and I was nowhere near my personal best time – this injury will also affect my training for the next one.”

Though very friendly she clearly demanded a lot of herself and I suspected, the 35 members of staff for which she’s responsible.

Moving to the CellNass pathology archiving solution

As the organisation providing archiving solutions for Amanda and her department CellNass are part of her extended team, and I was keen to find out how she felt CellNass were performing, as well as exploring the reasons why the 4,000 staff at Royal Berkshire Hospital (fittingly, where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was born) decided to choose the CellNass archiving solution.

“Originally we stored the blocks and slides on-site. Eleven years ago they were moved to a location off-site, in a side-building of the old hospital adjacent to the ambulance park. It was cramped, through two sets of locked doors and right in the centre of town – we have traffic problems! It also required sending staff away from the lab for quite lengthy periods, if and when a block or slide needed retrieval. It wasn’t HTA licensed and we certainly needed a new solution anyway: That need was intensified when the old hospital site was put up for sale.”

Colin Brewer, CellNass Manager, helped Amanda’s predecessor Jill Stinchcombe with implementing the new arrangement:

“Though Jill and I had discussed the RBH’s needs over a number of years the Hospital Trust had been quite resistant to using third-party remote storage and archiving. The HTA were not satisfied with their current location and had already prevented the RBH from storing post-mortem material there, so we did have an earlier small contract for this material. When the site was sold the Trust finally agreed that CellNass were the best option for the material. It was in the nick of time, we collected the material just as the power was being turned off!”

Amanda has worked at the RBH for eight and a half years and took over as the Head of Biomedical and Histopathology department when Jill moved on in January:

“Since taking over I’ve developed a good relationship with Myrna, my customer care contact – she’s bubbly and a lot of fun. Of course, CellNass is HTA certified; we had our inspection in December and they were impressed with the arrangement.”

Customer satisfaction is important to CellNass. Initial pickup involved a large quantity of both slides and blocks and as an arrangement established by her predecessor, it’s important Amanda feels comfortable with how it’s working.

“CellNass is convenient for the RBH. Not only does it take away the need for a large site here in Reading, it’s time-saving and requires little effort at our end. We don’t use the retrieval system that often, perhaps only once a month, but when we do the slides we’ve wanted have been returned within promised service times. At present we have some limited on-site storage that is not quite full so we haven’t actually sent any blocks or slides since the initial load last year. Once it’s full I imagine we would do bulk pickups on a yearly basis to move ‘years’ at a time.”

We are always happy to welcome customers to have a look at our facilities - if you'd like a tour, please use the form on the right and a member of our customer care team will be in touch to arrange an invitation to visit.

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Addenbrooke's NHS Trust

“One aspect of the CellNass storage service is that the slides and blocks are placed in better conditions than often exist in hospitals, in CellNass, conditions are ideally suited to the purpose and more likely than not, better than spaces used for storage in hospitals.”

What were your reasons for looking at offsite archiving?

For many years, we used a large basement to store slides and blocks stretching back to the 1950’s. As the available space to store was forever reducing, we considered moving the blocks off-site, at first into our own storage facility. However, arranging and managing this ourselves left us with security and retrieval issues into the future.

We explored a range of options and identified a number of key considerations. Any storage facility would need to be secure as the materials being stored are confidential and we have a duty of care to ensure they are safe and protected – which makes it very different to storing paper and equipment.

Secondly, we needed effective access and retrieval with samples back in a couple of days – so an efficient system was important. Also, as we carry samples linked to transplant patients, traceability was very important, as these would inevitably be recalled in the future.

How has CellNass performed?

CellNass packed our slides onsite and coped extremely well with the difficult and dirty conditions in our basement. They were not fazed by the uplift task at all.

In CellNass, conditions are ideally suited to the purpose and more likely than not better than spaces used for storage in most hospitals.

We did take the time to visit the facility at CellNass and see the operation for myself – particularly the area of tracking and traceability, as well as risk assessment and staff training. The evidence was a well-run facility with effective procedures and a good culture amongst the staff.

What benefits have you seen from using CellNass?

The old basement is now used for a variety of things including a new sample preparation area, and fridge and freezer storage.

Moving materials away from the hospital becomes a shared responsibility. Samples always need to be available and your storage partner needs to be someone you can trust. The fact CellNass has an HTA license provides an appropriate level of reassurance.

A further comfort for us is the fact that CellNass is dedicated to the purpose of their customers which means they are probably in it for the long run. This is very reassuring when you consider how long we need to store samples for.

We are always happy to welcome customers to have a look at our facilities - if you'd like a tour, please use the form on the right and a member of our customer care team will be in touch to arrange an invitation to visit.

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