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Roll cages

Thursday 24 November 2016

NHS Supply Chain uses roll cages to deliver its products to the majority of its customers.

Roll cages are property of NHS Supply Chain and the NHSBSA provided to our customers in order to deliver the products more efficiently and effectively. They are required on a daily basis to ensure continuity of supply across the NHS, unreturned cages can cause delays in deliveries and therefore we ask that all cages are made available for collection

Failure to return them can impact on the quality of service we can provide. Using them for activities for which they are not intended can also have serious Health and Safety implications. For this reason containers are supplied on the understanding that they are used only for the purpose of transporting consumable products supplied by NHS Supply Chain. They are not to be used for long-term storage or filing or any other internal activities. The loss of containers presents us with an on-going challenge. Indeed, NHS Supply Chain spends in excess of £1 million on roll cages and tote boxes each year. Much of this is to replace roll cages and tote boxes that have been taken out of our system by trusts and third parties. We are constantly looking to reduce this annual spend through the promotion of effective container management. This can only be achieved with your co-operation.

All containers are marked as ‘Property of NHS Supply Chain' (or 'NHS Supplies/ NHS Logistics Authority’, their predecessor organisation). Some of them are marked with our old strapline, ‘Delivering healthcare products throughout the National Health Service’. In general, the wire roll cages are of a Bright Zinc Electroplate colour with 2 fixed wheels (rear) - colour Blue, (small number that are Yellow) and 2 swivel wheels (front) - colour RED. The tote boxes are either green or blue and will normally be accompanied by a flat lid.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Check deliveries against delivery notes
  • Deliver goods to their respective destinations as soon as possible
  • Empty roll cages of all goods
  • If necessary, secure roll cages together with a chain and padlock to prevent theft
  • Return all containers on the next available NHS Supply Chain vehicle.

Do Not...

  • Use roll cages for collecting dirty or clean linen
  • Use roll cages for the collection of general rubbish
  • Use roll cages as mobile equipment lockers
  • Use roll cages for storing goods or for filing medical records
  • Allow other to use roll cages for their own purpose
  • Leave roll cages unattended, particular in corridors or stairwells.

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