Dispelling the myths around outsourcing NHS document management 

Hybrid Solutions and a Paperless NHS

There are many misconceptions around outsourcing medical records to offsite storage – and it’s about time they were dispelled.


Restore has worked closely with the NHS for decades, providing a secure and cost-efficient solution to the complex process of patient record management.


Outsourcing medical records is an excellent way to increase efficiency, free up hospital space, save money and ensure patient notes are readily available.

Stefan Chetty,
Director of Public Sector Services, Restore Records Management

So, let’s take a look at the most common myths and answer them one by one:

MYTH 1: “Outsourcing records is more costly”

A medical library often gets overlooked as an opportunity for cost efficiency, but in fact, outsourcing records management can save money.

With our offsite storage services, an NHS Trust can avoid the need for an onsite records library, creating more space and perhaps even reducing the need to build new wards.

Entrusting records management to our experienced team allows hospitals to cut down on temporary staff in the records library and allows other employees to work more efficiently and focus on patient care. Our sites are optimised to store vast amounts of records and our teams can handle high volumes of request activity, often with significantly fewer staff than a hospital might employ.

MYTH 2 “Clinic prep can’t be understood by somebody else”

NHS Trusts may feel that the clinic prep process is too bespoke to their hospital or Trust. How could anyone from the outside know what to do?

Our teams are well-trained in compliance, and we’ve been working with the NHS for more than 30 years. We learn about each department’s rules for clinic prep, create a user guide to standardise the process and then diligently train our team to take the service off your hands.

By standardising records and the clinic prep process, we can make future digitisation more cost-effective.

MYTH 3 “The supplier doesn’t care about our patients”

Clinicians may worry that outsourcing records would put sensitive medical information into the hands of a cold, uncaring business.

Our breadth of knowledge and hands-on experience with the NHS means we care deeply about patient records. We ensure all information is securely handled under thorough regulations, priding ourselves on excellent customer service.

Many of our staff worked for the NHS before joining Restore, so understand its culture from both sides of the fence. We are uniquely positioned to simultaneously recognise the sensitivities of patient care and how to make administration more efficient.

MYTH 4 “Records must be kept onsite”

There’s a misconception that keeping records onsite means they can be accessed quicker.

But, by storing them offsite in a well-organised archive, they can be easily located and retrieved. It also increases compliance.

Our thorough systems ensure all records are properly catalogued, often providing better access than if you held the records in-house. Due to a lack of resource, patient information can be disorganised in some hospitals and clinics. Better to have the records catalogued in one place, where they can be quickly retrieved when needed.

NHS Trusts often worry about being unable to access files in an emergency and hold back from utilising offsite storage.

Our experience is that it is very rare that files are required ‘right this minute’. A patient’s entire medical history is not needed to treat a broken leg, for instance. If records are needed quickly, they can be scanned on demand. This is often a faster option than searching for them in an overstretched onsite library.

One of the benefits of using Restore is that you are never more than two hours away from a Restore site, meaning that records can always arrive in good time.

MYTH 5 “Having patient records onsite means they won’t get lost”

Keeping all medical records onsite might sound like the best way to ensure nothing goes missing.

But without effective tracking of notes, easy access can mean that files are temporarily stored around the hospital in a non-compliant manner, which both presents a risk and limits access for others that may need the information they contain.

We can help Trusts build better habits. Always returning records to our facilities after they are viewed ensures we can efficiently log their usage – saving clinics the administrative headache of keeping up with the whereabouts of every file. We also know exactly where they are.

We’ve seen statistics that in some hospitals as many as 25% of patient notes are not delivered in time for the appointment. At Restore, we maintain 99.9% record availability. Outsourcing storage to one of our facilities helps to guarantee that Trusts will have records readily available for every patient when needed.

MYTH 6 “We might lose control of compliance by moving records offsite”

Understanding compliance is vital in the health sector, but it’s a myth that storing offsite could threaten data security. In fact, the opposite is true.

At Restore we understand that there are many legal restrictions around medical records, how long they should be kept and who should have permission to see them. Our entire business is based around ensuring everything we and our clients do is compliant.

Our many accreditations include the BSI Partners in Excellence Programme, Cyber Essentials Plus and the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme.

Outsourcing to Restore gives a Trust better visibility of their overall records. We will produce reports and management information that provides complete transparency of health records activity, allowing you to make informed decisions about the future of your records.


It’s natural that NHS Trusts are protective over their onsite medical libraries and are influenced by age-old myths around what happens when they are moved offsite.

But by choosing the right records management partner there can be a wide range of advantages, not least in the current climate a chance to free up space for more wards.

The bottom line is that moving records offsite provides greater efficiencies and frees up resources and time which can be put back into patient care.

It’s time to put the myths to bed.

To find out more, or discuss your needs, why not get in touch?

Give our specialists a call on 01293780075

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01293 780 075