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Project to re-order LHSA’s twentieth-century case notes

LHSA holds the second largest collection of medical case notes in the UK including 1 million folder-based patient records that date back to the 1900s. These consist of over 100 discreet collections from some of the great general and specialist practitioners in the Lothian area, including Harold Stiles, John Fraser and Norman Dott.

During a move of the case note collections a shelving collapse occurred in November 2006. Although overall damage was minimal this incident resulted in the disordering of 71 of the collections. The time-consuming task of restoring order was carried out by the LHSA archive assistant Stephen Willis.  Taking more than a year and a half to complete, he re-ordered over 208,000 case notes. At the same time additional information was extracted, for example on medical specialty, date range and wards mentioned.

Occasionally, miscellaneous items were found amongst the case notes. Some of the more unusual have included a hair comb, a pair of nail scissors and the colour supplement from a 1959 edition of Woman magazine! 

This project has not only improved access for enquirers but the case notes are now ready for potential future conservation or digitisation work.  

Since the project's completion, attention has been turned to the rest of the case notes, as many of these have not been looked through before. They are being systematically checked and similar information recorded.

For further information, please contact us.

Ear and Throat Department case note file before re-ordering   Shelved case note files after re-ordering