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.

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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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.

More >