"GS1 standards are crucial to lowering cost and improving the quality of the NHS."
Matthew Swindells, National Director: Operations and Information, NHS England
The UK Department of Health has published its 2014 eProcurement Strategy This strategy consists of a number of measures for more transparent, effective procurement procedures in National Health Services (NHS).
The new strategy also states that any product or service provided to an NHS trust (health centre) in the UK must be in line with GS1 standards. In particular, the NHS wants every patient and caregiver, medical device, pharmaceutical product and site to be uniquely identified. This will also ensure compliance with the new UDI and FMD regulations being introduced in Europe.
In addition to the unique identification, the NHS is also asking manufacturers to send their master data via the GS1 Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN).
As part of the strategy, GS1 standards are being used for 3 key aspects that increase efficiency, better protect patients and improve compliance with new regulations:
- the management of an electronic catalogue;
- the unique identification of the patient and care provider;
- the unique identification of places.
In a report on the reform of the NHS (Interim Report June 2015) Patrick Carter MP outlines the context: how can the NHS continue to innovate and provide quality care to its many patients in times of economic crisis?
Many solutions are proposed, but it is, according to Carter, the introduction of a common electronic catalogue for all NHS hospitals that complies with international standards that will lead to savings of an average of £3 million a year for each of the 1600 NHS hospitals.
The introduction of the GS1 system will harmonise information practices and systems and standardise the identification, purchasing, stocking and traceability of medical products within the hospital.