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"Putting the patient first, that’s what GS1 is all about” - GS1 UK healthcare conference day one

Date: November 21, 2017

Category: Industry news


The first day of the GS1 UK healthcare conference kicked off today with one very simple message: GS1 standards are about the unique identification of every person, every product and every place.

That is what Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said in our opening video and it was that simple message, centred around the person, that was the theme throughout the day.

Healthcare Conference

We welcomed back Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the General Medical Council, who recognised that the challenge he had set at last year’s conference of getting real clinical evidence was going to be met later today in Dr Goddard’s presentation on the use of GS1 standards in endoscopy. Dr Goddard, Registrar at the Royal College of Physicians and Consultant at Royal Derby Hospital, made the benefits clear. They now have data that they’ve never had before – they scan the co-morbidities of their patients, they track all their consumables and they know their complication data. Their reporting has improved, their stock control is better and they can now have conversations about how and why procedure runs late or goes wrong. They never had this before and as Dr Goddard himself said, “it has to be the way forward.”

Healthcare Conference

A difficulty behind this that was established by Alastair McLellan, Editor of the HSJ, was that of money. Austerity isn’t going to go away and as Matthew Swindells then emphasised in his following session, the only way the NHS is going to get more funding is by making itself “an investible proposition.” And that’s exactly what the GS1 programme is providing, a different way of working that excites clinicians like Dr Goddard because they can see it working, and saves money because staff are able to work more efficiently. That’s why we were able to get three Trust CEOs on stage for our final main stage session of the day - Alan Foster, CEO at North Tees, Gavin Boyle, CEO at Derby and Cara Charles-Barks, CEO at Salisbury – because as they all pointed out, it’s a “no-brainer”. But summing up the conference so far was Alan Foster when he said “Putting the patient first, that’s what GS1 is all about.”

Still in our thoughts from his opening session, is the challenge Professor Terence Stephenson set us for the next year – if patient safety is our top priority, how can we all work together to stop never events? And when we get back together tomorrow to look at the future of GS1 standards in the NHS, we plan to provide the answers.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the conference by following us on Twitter or checking out our conference hashtag #bettercarecostsless.