Jobs boost as Northumberland firm lands £10m contract to scan patient records

Up to 70 new jobs are being created in Northumberland as part of a major project by the area’s NHS trust to digitise millions of patient records. Cleardata document scanning

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals and community services in the county as well as North Tyneside, has awarded a scanning contract worth more than £10million to Cleardata UK Ltd.

It will see the Blyth-based firm converting more than 1.2million traditional paper records into digital versions over a three-year period, in line with the NHS digital transformation plan. This digitisation will enhance patient care as clinicians will be able to access records across the trust’s sites and share information easily.

The contract also provides a jobs boost for Northumberland, with Cleardata providing full and part-time roles, including opportunities through the Government’s Kick Start Scheme, Traineeship Programme and Sector-Based Work Academies.

Cleardata’s managing director, David Bryce, said: “We were absolutely delighted to win this digitisation project for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and look forward to working with them. This is a record contract for Cleardata and I’m so very proud of our business growth and the whole team.

“We’ve invested more than £1.1million in new buildings and innovative IBML scanning technology, which is the best in the world, placing our scanning bureau at the forefront of the digitisation and document management industry.

“This is an exciting time for our business and is also fantastic news for our local communities, adding up to 70 new jobs in Northumberland. We were very grateful to receive support from the North of Tyne Growth Fund to support our continued business growth.”

Once scanned, the patient record will be viewed by Northumbria clinicians on a next-generation electronic document management solution provided by IMMJ Systems. The system, MediViewer™, has been specifically built for UK healthcare trusts and clinicians will be able to use SmartIndex™ technology which makes the patient record easy to view and search.

David Elliott, chief digital information officer at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “It’s important our digital systems meet the needs of clinicians and support them to continually improve patient care. Our scanning and digital systems will do this by making vital information available to clinicians at the times they need it, whether that be in A&E, one of our general or community hospitals or out in the community, for example, by one of our district nurses or health visitors.

This project is crucial to modernising our services, helping our services interact more seamlessly with one another and reducing margins for error making care even safer.”

Marion Dickson, the trust’s executive director of nursing, added: “Being able to work in an integrated way across services has never been more important and digital patient records are essential to this.

Given our commitment to supporting our populations beyond their health needs, as we pledged through Our Community Promise earlier this year, it’s also fantastic that this contract will be creating jobs right here in Northumberland and providing a boost to the local economy.”

Cleardata provides high-volume document scanning, digital mailroom, secure archive storage, cloud document management and automated document processing services throughout the UK. The business is seeing fantastic year-on-year growth, and has doubled its facilities, now occupying four units, with more than 52,000 square feet, on the Riverside Business Park in Blyth. Cleardata is already a major employer in Northumberland, with 180 staff expected to be based at its Blyth sites by later this year.

Two capital grants have been provided from the North of Tyne Growth Fund to support the expansion of premises and employment of new staff (part-funded by European Regional Development Fund).

Mike Baker, UMi’s senior project manager for the North of Tyne Growth Fund, said: “Winning such a large NHS contract is a real testament to the hard work and success of Cleardata’s team.

“We are delighted to have been able to support their growth plans with two capital grants to expand the company’s premises and its number of staff, which is great news for the whole region. For any other North of Tyne businesses that are keen to grow, get in touch with our team to discuss your project.”