Health Service Focus

04.11.15

All NHS acute trusts in England now GS1 UK members

All NHS acute trusts in England have now registered as GS1 UK members, as mandated by the Department of Health’s eProcurement strategy. 

Under the eProcurement strategy, which was published last year, the Department mandated the use of GS1 standards throughout the NHS in England, meaning that every supplier and every NHS trust must adopt GS1 barcoding standards.   

It is expected that the shift will allow trusts to deliver significant efficiencies, reduced errors and improved patient outcomes. 

John Warrington, deputy director of procurement policy and research at the Department of Health, said: “The implementation of GS1 standards is no longer just a good thing to do, it’s now essential for delivering the NHS Five Year Forward View efficiencies.” 

The recent interim Carter Review stated that the introduction of GS1and PEPPOL standards will allow every NHS hospital in England to save on average up to £3m each year while improving patient care. 

Speaking to NHE earlier this year, Lord Carter said: “We can track purchase orders and track invoices, but unless you track stock you don’t know what the usage has been. 

“And that has been a really difficult thing to ascertain because we suspect various hospitals use much more of certain supplies because they haven’t got a good materials management system. We haven’t been able to get the answer to that so we are pressing hospitals on better materials management systems in the hospital. 

“We need to barcode everything. We just have to get there.” 

Glen Hodgson, head of healthcare at GS1 UK, who recently wrote for NHE, said: “We are delighted that every NHS acute trust in England is now registered as a GS1 UK member. 

“By using unique identification standards everywhere along the patient pathway it is possible to increase efficiency and significantly improve the quality and safety of care. We are working closely with the DH and trusts to ensure the adoption and implementation of GS1 standards is just as seamless.” 

Recently, Andy Crosbie, head of Biosciences and Implants at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, wrote for NHE about how the organisation has started to use unique device identification based on GS1 standards in healthcare recalls

He described this as a significant milestone for the healthcare industry and set the scene for how important patient safety information like recalls will be communicated to patients and healthcare professionals alike in the future.

Comments

Ben   04/11/2015 at 12:42

But what does this mean? It's great that all acute trusts are GS1 members but are they actually implementing any of the GS1 standards? Or is this just the DH buying a bulk licence? If the trusts aren't going to do anything then this is meaningless.

Tim   11/11/2015 at 14:13

Ben, this means all Trusts are now registered with GS1 UK directly and are using the GS1 company prefix assigned to them. Of course it doesn't mean they are using all the standards, in every application, in every department, in every hospital. Some are clearly further ahead than others. But progress is being made, and the six demonstrator sites that the DH will announce in December will further illustrate this.

JB   10/05/2016 at 13:59

I dont understand what the gain is here? Possibly in a trust without an efficient MATMAN system. A correct MATMAN system will always track stock as you can see through what is ordered each week what has been used against their re-order level. Surely it would make more sense to standardize the MATMAN process and roll it out NHS-wide.

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