NHS confirms GS1 as absolute standard

NHS England's 'Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care' report released earlier this week has made several references to GS1 standards as being at the forefront of its new strategy to drive down the costs of procurement while improving its service in the process.

The report outlines four key initiatives that form part of the programme, one of which is to "improve data, information and transparency including the adoption of GS1 coding standards."

The paper goes on to cite the October 2012 report 'Strength in Unity', compiled by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which identifies that the average 600 bed trust in the UK could save millions of pounds if GS1 standards were to be fully implemented.

It adds that integrating GS1 standards into the supply chain is the "essential building block" of long-term data improvement, which is why it plans to make GS1 coding mandatory within the NHS by 2014/15 as part of the programme.

Another key role of GS1 mentioned in the report is an even more immediate one, which the NHS hopes to put in place by the end of 2013/14. It wants to launch an NHS GS1 data pool that can be used across a range of its systems

Taking about the organisation being at the crux of the report, Gary Lynch, the Chief Executive of GS1 UK, said:

"This is a significant win for GS1 UK, secured through the hard work and tenacity of many of our team who have worked tirelessly to promote the adoption of GS1 standards in healthcare. This result is testament to the team's hard work and persistence."

Lastly, as part of its three-year programme overview, the NHS has set a target of all its trusts meeting GS1 standing certification by 2015/16, by which time it expects to have saved £800m if all its goals have been met.

Download a copy of the report directly from the www.gov.uk website.