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Community equipment management

How GS1 standards improve loan stock management

Community equipment management

Community equipment, or loan stock, is a pool of equipment for use within the community – at a patient’s home or a care home. It covers a broad range of equipment types from low value risers through to high value items such as hospital beds and hoists.

Identifying loan stock assets with a unique GS1 number and barcode – or even RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag – enables community equipment to be tracked throughout its life cycle. This leads to more cost effective processes, better asset utilisation and an improved service for patients. The barcode or RFID tag can be scanned, along with the location and patient, to record the asset when it’s issued, returned, decontaminated and taken back into stock.

The benefits

  • Better visibility and better recovery of equipment
  • Better allocation of maintenance and repair costs
  • Improved equipment traceability
  • Reduction in staff time spent updating records
  • Improved patient safety

What an efficient community equipment management process looks like

  1. GS1 numbers and barcodes are used to identify all loan stock equipment, as well as locations, staff, patients and products. If appropriate, RFID tags can be considered, particularly for high value items such as specialist beds
  2. Where possible, paper records should be replaced, using barcode or RFID reading devices to update asset databases without the need for re-keying information
  3. All events associated with a loan stock asset (repairs, maintenance, issuing and collection to patient) are tracked using barcode or RFID readers in order to build up an accurate audit trail and enable effective and efficient management of maintenance schedules for areas such as PAT and load testing
Help and support

If you have any questions, need some advice about implementing GS1 standards or want to find an accredited GS1 UK solution provider, we’re happy to help. Don’t forget to check out our case studies too. 

Contact us at or call 0808 172 8390.

Community equipment management

The Management of Loan Stock using GS1 Standards

Commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in order to show how GS1 standards could be used to improve the management of Loan Stock within the NHS

CPE portal

The NHS Centre for Procurement Efficiency site