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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Great Ormond Street Hospital

“I would thoroughly recommend CellNass as they make every effort to meet the customer’s needs and they understand the requirements of the NHS. Their team have helped to produce a very successful working relationship with the staff in the laboratory. They are always willing to listen to suggestions and to change their methods and working practices, if necessary, to accommodate our needs. Above all, from the very early stages until now, they have always provided a highly personal service.”

What were your reasons for looking at offsite archiving?

Prior to using CellNass, Blood Spot cards (Guthrie cards) used for Newborn Screening were previously stored in boxes (1 per day) in a basement area of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). These records dated back to 1990.

GOSH was about to start the next phase of their refurbishment which meant vacating the area used for storage. On-site storage was considered but being based in central London, space was both expensive and at a premium.

What attracted you to CellNass?

Great Ormond Street went through a full tendering process and CellNass fully met our specifications. What impressed us most about CellNass was their willingness to meet our needs, modify their current practices and design new systems such as tailor made boxes for the cards. They had a good understanding of the need to treat Blood Spot cards as specimens which require anonymous storage at all times, rather than just documents.

How has CellNass performed?

The initial uplift was extremely efficient and completed swiftly. When removed from our site, the documentation and cataloguing of the cards were very comprehensive and extremely easy to follow.

We now require monthly uplifts and retrievals within 24 hours. There are designated people at CellNass who receive our requests and are very prompt in their response. The process is auditable and there is a written policy that both parties adhere to.

We also require the Blood Spot Cards to be kept in a secure, dry environment with monitored fire detection and protection. CellNass has certainly delivered on these key criteria.

What benefits have you seen from using CellNass?

First and foremost, the space previously used for storage is now part of a major redevelopment for the hospital.

Storing offsite has also meant GOSH staff do not have to spend time moving large quantities of boxes  to the storage areas and searching for requested cards out of storage. We now have a properly managed, improved archived system that is very reliable and accessible. The health and safety concerns when storing materials onsite have also reduced.

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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