Plymouth lays foundation for NHS savings with GS1 milestone

Scan4Safety demonstrator site on target to reduce waste and increase efficiency by achieving transaction information milestone with support of NHS Shared Business Services and Global Health Exchange

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has achieved a major financial transaction milestone as part of a drive to use GS1 standards to help every hospital in England save around £3m a year.

Collaborating with our workforce and suppliers, and other trusts on the Scan4Safety programme, we now have a platform that can help the NHS to ensure that every product used in hospital is assigned to the right location, to the right patient, and is backed up by the right purchase orders and invoices

As the largest acute teaching hospital in the South West, serving a population of over two million, the trust is one of six NHS demonstrator sites selected as part of the Department of Health’s Scan4Safety strategy aimed at improving patient safety and regulatory compliance and bringing about widespread operational efficiencies.

The strategy mandates NHS acute trusts to use GS1 barcoding standards, similar to those used in the retail sector, to accurately identify patients, products and places within a trust.

Now, working with business support specialist, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), and healthcare technology company, Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX), the trust has streamlined the payment and product identification process for suppliers.

This will help both the trust and the NHS to reduce waste across the ‘Purchase to Pay’ process by using up-to-date catalogue information managed by suppliers.

In turn, suppliers will know exactly which products they are expected to deliver to the trusts.

Plymouth’s Scan4Safety work supports the delivery of key operational objectives by simplifying processes, which releases staff to spend more time on frontline care, and enhancing safety by identifying the right product for the right patient.

This, once again, shows how the NHS can excel at more-efficient ways of working when they are implemented in the right way

Plymouth chief executive and Scan4Safety programme board member, Ann James, said: “Collaborating with our workforce and suppliers, and other trusts on the Scan4Safety programme, we now have a platform that can help the NHS to ensure that every product used in hospital is assigned to the right location, to the right patient, and is backed up by the right purchase orders and invoices.

“This will benefit Plymouth and the wider NHS as it looks to deliver efficiencies that will help enhance the quality of care we can provide.”

NHS SBS managing director, David Morris, said: “This is rightly seen as a great advance on the Scan4Safety journey.

“Plymouth is leading the way in using accepted standards from other industries to improve patient safety, and this has been achieved through successful collaboration.

“This, once again, shows how the NHS can excel at more-efficient ways of working when they are implemented in the right way.”

The success of this pilot means that Plymouth has created a compliance platform which every other trust can now use

And GHX UK country manager, James Thirkill, said: “Partnering with Plymouth on the e-Commerce foundation for standards implementation, including the ability to track orders and measure performance in Scan4Safety, has provided the ability to hold, store, and then use GS1 standards.

“This, in turn, can help enable faster rollout of these capabilities right across the NHS.

“The success of this pilot means that Plymouth has created a compliance platform which every other trust can now use.”

Future plans for the trust include using GS1 standards within trauma and orthopaedics so that theatre teams can track products, such as knee and hip implants, used by each patient and so support faster product recall, and more-efficient inventory management.

Plymouth is also sharing its experiences with other demonstrator sites as part of best-practice materials to help enable other trusts to implement GS1 standards in the most-efficient way possible.

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