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Roll Cage Management

A roll cage in a warehouse ready for deliveries

NHS Supply Chain uses roll cages to deliver its products to the majority of its customers. They are vital to an effective service provision and must be returned promptly.

Failure to return them can impact on the quality of the service we provide and our ability to ensure timely deliveries. Using them for activities for which they are not intended can also have serious Health and Safety implications.

For this reason roll cages must only be used for the purpose of transporting consumable products supplied by NHS Supply Chain. They are not to be used for long-term storage or filing, laundry management (you should use the laundry cleaning providers cages only), or any other internal activities.

On this page you’ll find details of how you and your trust can support us, along with information on how to identify which roll cages are ours.

Empty roll cage in a warehouse

Effective roll cage management by you and your trust is vital to ensuring your deliveries are not impacted. You can help us by following the guidance here.

Please support us by

  • Delivering cages to their respective destinations as soon as possible.
  • Emptying cages of all goods and returning to a designated delivery location, for collection by the next NHS Supply Chain vehicle.
  • If necessary, securing roll cages together with a chain and padlock to prevent improper use or removal by parties other than NHS Supply Chain.
  • Reporting any concerns regarding cage returns to your regional Customer Service Team.
  • Complying with any request from our Customer Service Team to make cages available for collection.

Please do not:

  • Use roll cages for the collection of either clean or soiled linen.
  • Collect or transport rubbish or files using a roll cage.
  • Use a roll cage for storage of goods, equipment or filing medical records.
  • Allow third parties to use or remove roll cages from your trust’s site.

The loss of cages presents us with an ongoing challenge. Indeed, NHS Supply Chain spends in excess of £1 million on roll cages each year. Much of this is to replace roll cages that have been taken out of our system by trusts and third parties. Cages retrieved from third-party laundries need disinfecting before being returned which causes additional costs to carry out.

It is crucial that we do not run out at our depots. If this happened, then wooden pallets would be needed for deliveries. We want to avoid this and know it is a huge challenge for trusts to accommodate.

With the help of our Roll Cage Coordinators and customers we have been able to locate and retrieve a number of our roll cages, however there are still over 3,000 cages (as of October 2022) which have not been returned.

How to identify our roll cages

  • All roll cages 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 silver colour with white wheels, although some still have one set of red and one set of blue wheels.

We also require the require the return of roll cages labelled either ‘Palletower‘, ‘Rollstore‘ or ‘Unipart Logistics‘.

Palletower Logistics Roll Cage Label
Unipart Logistics Roll Cage
Roll Cage - Label Property of NHS Supply Chain

Please let your Regional Customer Service team know if you spot any cages that need returning.

Need support to coordinate roll cage collection?

We have a dedicated roll cage manager who can support your trust with:

  • Cage sweeps
  • Cage audits
  • Attend relevant internal receipts and distribution meetings.

Ken Seaborne

National Cage Asset Manager

Downloads ▼

  • Roll Cage Return Protocol Poster

    A PDF poster customers can download to print out and put up to remind them of our roll cage protocol.
  • Roll Cage General Information Poster

    A PDF poster providing general details about best practice for our roll cages.
  • Roll Cage Bank Holiday Poster

    A PDF poster customers can download to print out and put up to remind them to return roll cages promptly.
  • Roll Cage Christmas Deliveries Poster

    A PDF poster customers can download to print out and put up to remind them to return roll cages promptly.