HEE's plans for consolidating to a smaller number of regional library management systems

There are currently 8 regional library management systems across the NHS in England.

Some consortia are long standing such as SWIMS in the South West, the North East, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) and the East of England.

Others have more recently expanded, such as in the Midlands and London. 

Other regions are coming together on a joint system for the first time, such as the North West, and Yorkshire and Humber.

This ambitious programme of work has taken place since 2019 moving from 90 different largely locally funded systems to nationally funded systems and support.

Each regional system has a board which meets quarterly to review strategic aspects for the system.  This is attended by all the library managers from the participating organisations and is chaired by a member of the NHSE Resource Discovery team.  

Each network also has an operational group also bringing together library staff representatives from all the Trusts as well as other local groups such as for cataloguing.

A Library Management System Community of Practice provides a forum for administrators and others involved to share good practice across the regions.

Regional systems 

East of England (ELMS)

15 NHS Trusts and 1 hospice, comprising 22 libraries use the ELMS Koha system. A FutureNHS site is shared with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex libraries.

Kent, Surrey and Sussex 

11 NHS Trusts and 1 hospice comprising 20 Libraries, use the KSS Koha system. A FutureNHS site is shared with the East of England libraries.


The London Health Libraries Koha system has grown from the original South London consortium and now has 15 participating Trusts. This does not include University libraries in London.

A FutureNHS site is available for participating organisations.

Midlands (HeLM) 

HeLM is a new and growing health library consortium, incorporating BASE libraries (Birmingham and Black Country), Coventry and Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcester, Kettering, Nottinghamshire, Sherwood Forest, Nottingham University, Shrewsbury and Telford, Mid Cheshire and Lincolnshire health libraries. 

The consortium uses Koha and there are currently 25 participating Trusts comprising 50 libraries.

A FutureNHS site is available for all participating organisations. 

North East and Cumbria

This long-standing regional LMS has recently expanded and now includes 9 organisations and over 20 libraries across the North East and Cumbria.  Library staff across the North East and Cumbria are welcome to join the Futures Workspace to connect.

North West (NoW) 

NHS libraries across the North West are joining together in a shared regional LMS for the first time.  The first phase of the LMS went live in September 2023 with other phases joining NoW throughout 2024. 

19 NHS organisations will be members of NoW in the first instance.  A Futures workspace for North West staff is available.

South West (SWIMS) 

V-smart from Axiell is the regional system in the South West.  27 services and 43 libraries use the SWIMS system.  See HLISD for details of SWIMS libraries.

For more information see the SWIMS Network website.  A SWIMS discussion list is also available for SWIMS members.

Yorkshire and the Humber (YorCat) 

All 20 NHS organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber are joining together to join the YorCat regional LMS. 

The first phase of YorCat goes live in December 2023 and additional phases will join throughout 2024.  A YorCat Futures workspace is available for Yorkshire and the Humber library staff.


If you have an enquiry or would like to be linked to your regional team, please contact the Service desk.

Page last reviewed: 20 October 2023

Related information