NHS spent £1bn in five years on storing medical records

“The NHS has spent more than £1 billion on storing medical records in England over the past five years.

Some hospital trusts have so many paper files accumulated over decades that they have to rent space in off-site storage units. Many still have overflowing dusty basement archives, despite the health service’s promise to become ‘paper-free at the point of care’ by 2020.

Analysis of NHS England estates data given to the Times Health Commission shows that hospitals spent more than £234 million on the storage of paper medical records in the year to April 2022. This included about £175 million for on-site storage and more than £59 million for off-site storage.

The total spend on the storage of medical records by hospital trusts since 2017 was £1.19 billion. More than £260 million was paid for off-site storage over this period, including the cost of transporting documents between the storage units and relevant departments.

The cost of remote storage units has increased by almost 20 per cent over the past five years. The NHS is paying for heating, lighting, staff, furniture and stationery, as well as renting space at these facilities.”

Read the full article from The Times here.