Indexing the casebooks of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital


In May 2012, LHSA’s volunteers began a project to index the case books of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (REH) and create a searchable database of patient cases. As of March 2017, our dedicated team have worked through 85 volumes and indexed nearly 19,500 patient entries!


The REH kept regular case books from 1840, with the practice being initiated by the first Physician Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr William Mackinnon. There are 120 volumes in total and they run right up until 1932, when the modern system of individual folder-based case notes was introduced.  


The case books hold detailed information on a patient’s social and medical background, and chart their progress during their time in the Hospital. They are a rich source of social and medical history and are heavily used in genealogical, medical and academic research.


The database records the patient's name, age, occupation and diagnosis, as well as dates of their admission and discharge or death. This will be an invaluable finding aid capable of speeding up searches for individual patients and providing a short cut to identifying numbers of patients diagnosed with particular diseases, or by age, sex or occupation.


  REH case books