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GS1 UK partners with the NHS to save lives and money

London, 11 April 2019 – Global standards organisation, GS1 UK, has announced a five-year partnership with NHS Digital to enhance patient safety, reduce unwarranted clinical variation and improve operational efficiencies across care providers in England.

Announced at GS1 UK’s 2019 Healthcare Conference, the standards body’s largest ever healthcare event, the partnership enables NHS trusts to use GS1 standards, starting with the patient wristband and extending to location management using the Global Location Number registry (LocationManager). 

This allows the NHS in England to support the unique identification of every person, every product and every place, from care-givers to beds, solving major logistical problems and offering tangible improvements to the quality and safety of care.

The contract between GS1 UK and NHS Digital builds on the work the standards body has engaged in with NHS trusts over the course of the past 12 years, enabling major advances such as the auto-identification of every baby born in a hospital in England through application of NHS number using GS1 standards.

Organisations like University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust have made nearly £4m in savings since their roll out of GS1 standards, and the Department for Health and Social Care estimates that GS1-enabled programmes will save the NHS £1bn over the next seven years.

GS1 UK’s system-agnostic and interoperable open-standards technology was recently cited by the secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, as an effective example of transformational technology in practice as the NHS moves to a digital future.

Gary Lynch, chief executive at GS1 UK, said: “The NHS long-term plan clearly sets out its commitment to increasing the use of technology to improve standards of care and this partnership is clear evidence of it making good on that promise.

“Embedding open standards and technology will continue to save thousands of lives and millions of pounds, as well as freeing up countless staff hours that can be better spent doing what NHS staff do best – offering the best patient care.

“Implementing unique identifiers allows for increased traceability and visibility throughout the entire patient care pathway, meaning we are able to support NHS professionals to deliver improved patient care."

Tom Denwood, executive director for data, insights and statistics at NHS Digital, said“The Department of Health and Social Care’s e-procurement strategy mandates the use of GS1 standards in every NHS acute trust in England, We hope this five-year contract will drive a range of efficiencies for staff and patients, while improving the quality and safety of care.

“Open standards offer more consistency across the board and reduce unwanted clinical variations. Harnessing technology to make the most of the information we have at our fingertips is the quickest and safest way to make real improvements.”

GS1 UK’s 2019 Healthcare Conference brought together senior leaders from NHS trusts, national organisations, suppliers and solution providers, to hear presentations from leading members of the UK healthcare community, including NHS England chair, Lord David Prior and Matthew Swindells, deputy chief executive, NHS England.

To understand how GS1 standards are enabling the NHS to save thousands of lives and millions of pounds every year, visit

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Notes to editors

For further information or requests for interviews, please contact Tim Haidar: 020 7092 3584 /

About GS1 UK

GS1 UK is a community of more than 38,000 members working in retail, foodservice, healthcare and more. GS1 UK is one of 112 independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating across 150 countries worldwide. GS1 UK helps everyone involved in making, moving and trading goods to automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.

About NHS Digital

NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2017/18 financial year, NHS Digital published 275 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.