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Carter: savings of £3m every year for every hospital that adopts GS1 standards

Date: June 23, 2015

Category: Industry news


Lord Carter has published an interim report following his major review into the productivity of NHS hospitals.

Against the backdrop of a growing and ageing population, a sustained period of austerity, intense performance scrutiny and increasing patient empowerment, there is consensus that transformational change is needed in our NHS.

The report highlights typical savings of £3m every year for every hospital that adopts GS1 standards – as well as improving patient safety. The report also calls for the NHS to undergo a cultural change in order to bring about major efficiencies, or risk further losses.

Across the whole NHS, these changes could result in savings of up to £5 billion every year – through investing in digital platforms, improved staff organisation and a better approach to purchasing.

It’s time to think differently

Carter recognises these are unprecedented challenges for the NHS. If they are to be achieved, we need to create a culture of relentless cost containment with a forensic examination of every pound spent in delivering healthcare. Everyone must play their part – from executive boards and managers to nurses and clinicians.

The first step to achieving the benefits on offer is the unique identification of every person, every product and every place across Trusts”

Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare, GS1 UK

GS1 standards enable the unique identification of information to be exchanged across a hospital, a Trust and between different care providers and systems, no matter where or when a patient receives care.

Adopting GS1 standards in every NHS Trust – and their suppliers – will improve patient safety, deliver greater regulatory compliance and drive operational efficiencies along the entire patient pathway.

Some NHS Trusts are already adopting many of the recommendations in the Carter Report.

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has become a leader in digital healthcare. Implementing GS1 standards across their Trust has enabled them to identify areas which need more focus as well as manage priorities. Most importantly, they can now measure improvements in patient safety.

A fundamental shift

The Carter Report represents a fundamental shift to integrated, patient-centric care, through the better integration of technology.

Wasting time and money is no longer an option. Trusts should not be deterred by the new challenges that this cultural change presents, but instead, use the opportunity to make better use of technology and data. Adopting GS1 standards is vital to greatly increase efficiency, quality and productivity across the NHS, reducing paperwork, freeing up budget and releasing time to care.

Next, Carter will publish a template for a ‘model hospital’ and a measure of efficiency which every hospital will have to meet. We’re expecting to see hospitals receive efficiency measure targets – known as the Adjusted Treatment Index – later this year.

Now is the time to act

This is the latest publication to underline the importance of change to deliver an efficient and digitally enabled NHS. We’ve seen the NHS Five Year Forward View, the Department of Health’s eProcurement strategy and the National Information Board’s Personalised health and care strategy 2020.

The consistent message across these publications proves that there is consensus, from every corner of our healthcare system, that now is the time to act – and adopting GS1 standards is no longer a good thing to do, it’s essential.

GS1 standards implementation is no longer a good thing to do. It’s essential for delivering the NHS Five Year Forward View efficiencies”

John Warrington, Deputy Director of Procurement Policy & Research, Department of Health