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How to move medical records with labels

The final phase of the new medical records service started on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 when practices in phase four, covering the South West started to receive tracking labels for medical records requested from their practice. This means that all GP practices in England are now using the new service

PCSE has produced a range of materials to help practices transition to the new medical records movement service. The following materials can be downloaded below:

• A special bulletin, outlining how and when the new service will be rolled-out nationally
• A detailed instructions guide for sending and receiving records, plus submitting temporary resident (GMS3) forms
• Record packing instructions
• Checklist for sending out records
• Video guides 

A frequently asked questions flyer is also available here.

5 easy steps to moving medical records


Step One – Receive a request

Requests for patients’ records will come through your practice’s existing clinical system. The new process generates a tracking label for you bearing all the appropriate patient details. You won’t need to print this out as all the labels are handled by a centralised printing office and they’ll arrive with your weekly CitySprint collection / delivery.

All you need to do is locate the record in your own files and hold onto it until the label arrives.


Step Two – Match the label to the record

When the label arrives, match it to the appropriate record. Put the record in a shipping bag (there are three sizes so you can choose the most appropriate for the record).

If the record is big and won’t fit in one large bag, you can use several bags and order additional tracking labels using PCSE Online.


Step Three – Attach the label

Every shipping bag has a box printed on it that says “NHS Staff Affix Address Label Here”. that’s where the  right-hand tracking label goes. Don’t place it anywhere else or put any other form of post in the shipping bags (the records will now go directly to the receiving practice).


Step Four – Leave the record for delivery

Records will be picked up on your next CitySprint collection / delivery day.


Step Five – Using PCSE Online

You don’t need to use PCSE Online to respond to a normal record request. Unless you need to order a new tracking label, all the steps above can be done without it. However, it does offer some extra useful services.

  • Track the status of your inbound records without having to call up
  • View a list of outbound record requests so you can see what records you need to prepare
  • Order additional tracking labels for big records, or if your label has been damaged
  • Order additional shipping bags when you start to run low
  • Move a record or notes you don't have a label for using the 'Request movement' section

Important Update

Over the last year, some practices have reported that they have not received medical records they were expecting. Following a detailed analysis, it was found that the largest proportion of records were still with the previous GP practice where the patient had been registered.

In order to move these outstanding records from previous to new practices, PCSE will soon be delivering tracking labels for medical records held at practices where the patient is no longer registered.

Practices in phases one and two, using the new records movement service will start to receive labels for outstanding records between November 2017 and January 2018.

Practices that do not yet use the new service will receive labels for outstanding records after they start to use the new service.

Further information is being provided to practices individually by email. We thank you for your continued cooperation with this.

For FAQs regarding this please click here


For a full list of FAQs, visit our help page.

There are circumstances where a tracking label could be generated and delivered to a practice where the full medical record is not held, for example if a patient registers at two practices in very quick succession. If you receive a label you are not expecting, please retain the label and contact the PCSE Customer Support Centre on 0333 014 2884. Select the ‘Medical Records’ option and we will provide guidance on what to do next. If you have any paperwork relating to the short period when the patient was registered at your practice, our agents will also advise on what to do with these.

How should my practice redirect confidential patient information?

From May 2015, PCSE sites were required to stop redirecting confidential patient information on behalf of GP practices, as this process did not comply with NHS England information governance or current legislation.  Your practice should mark envelopes ‘return to sender’ and send the information back (in bulk/ batches if necessary) to the provider who sent it initially. NHS England confirmed this process in a letter to GP Practices in May 2015.  Please click here to view this information.

Bags are made from recycled materials. Once you have removed the contents, the bag should be turned inside out and placed in your recycling bin.

The urgent request form can be downloaded here. You must use this form if your request is clinically urgent, or if the request is in relation to adoption; gender re-assignment; witness protection; or a safeguarding investigation.

Completed forms should be emailed to: PCSE.enquiries@nhs.net from an nhs.net email address. Please put ‘Urgent record request’ in the email subject line.

We can then arrange for the patient’s previous GP to fax or email the clinically urgent information to your practice. For information governance reasons, we can only accept and send emails containing patient information from nhs.net email accounts. We will also ask the practice to release the paper medical record in their next CitySprint collection.

Please note, this urgent request process doesn’t necessarily accelerate the time it will take to move the paper record.

If you have any queries on this new process, please email us at pcse.enquiries@nhs.net and put ‘Urgent record request’ in the email subject line.

What do I do with records or notes not for my practice?

Practices should use the new ‘Request Movement’ area of PCSE Online to request the movement of:

  1. Records for patients no longer registered at your practice
  2. Additional notes for a record you have already returned
  3. A record you were not expecting

You’ll be asked to enter the patient’s NHS number on PCSE Online. CitySprint will deliver a tracking label for the record movement with your usual records collections and delivery. You can then put the record in a shipping bag, affix the label, and leave for CitySprint to collect.

How do we order more shipping bags?

You can order more shipping bags in the Supplies section of PCSE Online.

If a tracking label is lost or damaged, or if you require additional labels to spread a patient’s records across multiple shipping bags, you can request them on PCSE Online. In the ‘records out’ section, click on the ‘ID’ number for the movement. A pop-up box will appear and you can then request the additional labels.

The left-hand label contains updated patient information. This label should be affixed to the front of the medical record if the patient's details have changed, or disposed of securely if not. Please do not affix the left-hand label to the shipping bag. If this happens, CitySprint will not be able to accept the record. Unless you have confirmation that the GP to GP transfer has been successful, you should print out a full copy of the patient's electronic record and include in the patient's medical record envelope.

The new records movement process doesn’t use the NHAIS system (Exeter) to track records. This means that you will no longer receive a notification flag on your practice’s clinical system to alert you when records are on the way. Records can only be tracked on PCSE Online, however it will only show a full picture of all records movements once the new records movement service has been rolled out to all practices nationally.

What do the tracking statuses mean?

For ‘Records In’ the definitions are as follow:

  • Requested: PCSE has been notified of new patient registration at your practice
  • In progress: A tracking label has been printed and is on its way to the practice currently holding the record.
  • Pending validation or pending further investigation: PCSE has been notified of a new patient registration at your practice. This movement request requires further investigation before it can be approved and a tracking label created.
  • Collected: The record has been collected by CitySprint and is on its way to you.
  • Delivered: The record has been delivered to your practice. Please note, once CitySprint has scanned the record on delivery to your practice, the record will no longer show on your ‘Records in’ page on PCSE Online. You can still see a list of all records delivered to your practice by clicking on the Status column in your records in page and selecting ‘delivered.’ If for any reason the status has not updated to delivered, it is possible to change this yourself on PCSE Online. To do this, please go to the records in page on the portal, click on the ID number link for the movement and click on ‘In Storage at GP Practice’.

For records out, the definitions are as follows:

  • New request: PCSE has been notified of the deduction at your practice.
  • Transit label ready: A tracking label has been created and has been sent to print.
  • Transit label printed: A tracking label has been printed and is on its way to your practice via your CitySprint delivery.
  • Collected: The record has been collected from your practice by CitySprint.
  • Delivered: The record has been delivered to the destination practice. Please note, once CitySprint has scanned the record on delivery to the receiving practice, the record will no longer show on your ‘Records out’ page on PCSE Online.

PCSE can only collect from and deliver records to your main practice.

Tracking labels are delivered to practices within three weeks from the deduction of the patient by the previous practice. If you haven’t received a label by this point, you can request a label on PCSE Online. Log in and click on ‘Track your records’. Click on ‘Request movement’ and complete the information requested. CitySprint will then deliver a label for the record in due course. Please ensure that you have allowed at least three weeks for the original label to arrive before requesting one on PCSE Online.