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GS1 Company Prefix governance

How to manage GS1 Company Prefixes within a Trust

The Department of Health Information Standards Board has adopted GS1 identifiers and barcodes as the chosen standard to be used within NHS Trusts in England.

Our standards will be used for a wide variety of applications including:

  • Tracking surgical instruments and medical devices
  • Identifying other assets
  • Medical records
  • Pharmacy
  • Inventory management
  • Barcoding of physical locations
  • Identification of patients and staff

All GS1 identifiers start with a unique sequence of numbers, known as a GS1 Company Prefix. We allocate unique prefixes to each Trust. The use of the prefix ensures that identifiers allocated by a Trust will be unique and traceable back to the source. 

It is essential that each Trust maintains control over who is entitled to use prefixes to create GS1 identifiers within the Trust to ensure that there is no duplication. Any duplication could cause errors in patient records, inadequate medical device maintenance or even cause patients to receive the wrong medication. 

The control of GS1 identifiers can become complicated where Trusts merge or demerge and there are guidance notes included on how to approach this issue.

Read our guidelines document to understand how a Trust should manage prefixes (PDF)

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How we can help

For help on how to implement and manage GS1 Company Prefixes please get in touch with our experts or learn from the resources here.