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NHS England health and care strategy will boost patient safety

13/11/14 - GS1 UK welcomes the National Information Board paper – Personalised Health and Care Strategy 2020. Published today, it sets out a framework for enabling England to become a global leader in the provision of digital health and care services that improve patient safety and transparency.

One of the key proposals for ensuring care professionals have access to the data and knowledge they need to perform their roles effectively and minimise the risk of errors occurring is the implementation of GS1 standards across the health and care system.

GS1 standards are used in the NHS to provide unique identification for patients, products and places through use of barcoding technology and information standards. These have been shown to improve patient safety and reduce risks to patients.

NHS England will now work with the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to develop a joint approach to implementing the standards across the health and care system.

Lord Philip Hunt, president of GS1 UK comments: “Greater use of technology and data in hospitals has the potential to massively improve patient safety and this National Information Board paper sets out an excellent foundation to build upon. Fundamental to the success of this strategy will be the ability for care providers to understand exactly what is used, where and upon whom. Following the eProcurement Strategy mandate earlier this year, all items purchased by a hospital need to be identified using GS1 standards – this strategy will help ensure that all health, care and social care workers possess the appropriate level of knowledge and skills to maximise the benefits of having these global identification standards in place.

“We fully support the proposal set out in this paper to embrace GS1, which we believe will help to build and sustain public trust in the use of patient data through the provision of world-class healthcare services.”

Gary Lynch, CEO of GS1 UK: “Our global standards have a long history of enabling effective and efficient supply chain management in sectors such as retail, and this paper recognises the significant benefits that unique global identification can bring to the NHS. The role of GS1 standards in this strategy is to ensure that all items used in the provision of care can be efficiently located, tracked, traced and validated before use, freeing up time for healthcare workers and minimising the risk of errors occurring.

“Building upon the approach set out in the eProcurement Strategy, we believe the foundations are now in place for England to become a global leader in the provision of health and care services.”


About GS1 UK

For more than 35 years GS1 UK has been working with its members to enable the efficient movement of goods and sharing of information. It drives supply chain efficiency alongside 111 other not-for-profit GS1 member organisations in 150 countries worldwide.

Having introduced the first truly global bar code numbering system in 1973, at least five billion GS1-compliant bar codes are now scanned everyday – making it the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 identification numbers are now also commonly used in RFID tags, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages and for real-time global data exchange.

Providing independent support, GS1’s team of technical and business consultants also assist members with on-site implementation of appropriate supply chain information solutions.

Its 28,000+ UK members range from SMEs to major UK companies and include grocery retailers and food service companies, food manufacturers, healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies, and NHS Trusts. Its supervisory board includes senior directors from Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, as well as Unilever, P&G, Diageo and the NHS.

GS1 UK actively supports The Food Chain – a UK charity set up to ensure that people living with HIV can access the nutrition they need to lead healthy, independent lives.