NHS England reinforces drive for point of care scanning with launch of new Scan4Safety website

London, 14 February 2024 – NHS England has launched a new NHS Scan4Safety website as a central resource to support trusts to adopt and optimise scanning processes.

The new scan4safety.nhs.uk site will act as an information hub, providing case studies, updates, tools, resources and practical guidance for any trusts looking to expand or embark on their own adoption journeys. 

Scan4Safety was first launched in 2016 by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The initial two-year pilot saw six NHS trusts adopt GS1 standards to uniquely identify every person, product and place throughout their respective organisations. The was achieved by implementing point of care barcode scanning to enable the delivery of better patient care, improved clinical productivity and supply chain efficiency. 

As evidenced in the 2020 Scan4Safety report, the wealth of data and insights accumulated revealed multiple transformative benefits for both patients and staff. This included over 140 thousand hours of clinical time being released back into care, almost £5 million in recurrent inventory savings and £9 million of non-recurrent inventory reductions. 

These six initial trusts have provided a blueprint for driving wider adoption of across the four nations. Today, over 30 per cent of trusts in England have now adopted GS1 standards and programmes are now being implemented across Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 

Scan4Safety is now led by the NHS England National Patient Safety Team as part of their wider strategic programmes of digital safety work. Aiming to build on the successes and learnings of the initial phase, the team will encourage trusts across England to adopt scanning technologies in line with objectives outlined in the NHS Digital Clinical Safety Strategy. 

The launch of the new website will provide NHS trusts with the tools and resources needed to support wider implementation of point-of-care scanning as part of the organisation’s national approach. It is also bears significance for NHS England’s Outcomes and Registries programme and is closely aligned with NHS Supply Chain’s inventory management and point-of-care scanning initiative, the DHSC’s MedTech Strategy, and the Strategic Framework for NHS Commercial.

Together, these programmes will enable the unique identification of high-risk medical devices to improve traceability, patient safety and outcomes. Using Scan4Safety, trusts can efficiently capture the relevant information required at the point of care which can then be used to feed national registries.

As the NHS faces growing pressures on its operations, the need to harness the power of technology and standards has never been higher. GS1 UK remain fully committed to Scan4Safety and will continue to work closely with NHS leaders, clinicians and key stakeholders to build on previous successes and learnings and promote widespread adoption across the health service. 

Dr Kelsey Flott, deputy director of patient safety digital, NHS England, said, “I am delighted to be taking Scan4Safety forward as a priority within the National Patient Safety Team. Scan4Safety is a solution proven to deliver costs savings, efficiency gains and patient safety benefits through the use of digital technologies. I am encouraged to see so much interest in this work from across the NHS and hope this website will provide the guidance, tools and support needed for organisations to start and improve their own local Scan4Safety programmes.”

Glen Hodgson, head of healthcare, GS1 UK said: “In the years since the publication of the Scan4Safety report we have seen exceptional progress implementing the programme. First in England, then across Wales and Scotland, and we are now making inroads in Northern Ireland with asset tracking.

“As NHS England reinforces its support for the Scan4Safety rollout, the continuation will act as a powerful catalyst for helping more organisations adapt to the challenges of today, build resilience for the future and crucially, provide even safer care for patients. 

“We are already supporting the next generation of Scan4Safety adopters and will expand this support to any organisation that wishes to implement GS1 standards. We look forward to seeing the impact of the programme’s growth in the coming months and years.”


Notes to editors

For further information or requests for interviews, contact Alex Cox: 07464 946 769; alexander.cox@gs1uk.org.

To find out more about the role of GS1 standards in healthcare, visit: https://www.gs1uk.org/industries/healthcare 

About Scan4Safety

The six demonstrator sites selected by the Department of Health and Social Care to demonstrate the benefits of GS1 and Peppol standards were Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. 

Following the success of the programme in England, Scan4Safety has since been adopted by several NHS trusts in England. National Scan4Safety programmes have now been established in Scotland and Wales with Northern Ireland looking to implement point of care scanning via its transformational Encompass programme. Similar initiatives have also been developed in other countries including Norway, Japan and Ireland among others. 


About GS1 UK

Whether online, in store or in a hospital, the common language of GS1 global standards is helping our community of more than 58,000 organisations across the UK to uniquely identify, describe and track anything, creating greater trust in data for everyone.

From product barcodes to patient wristbands, GS1 standards have been transforming the way we work and live for nearly 50 years.

GS1 UK is one of 116 neutral and independent GS1 organisations operating worldwide.