Hospitals Can Improve Safety, Enhance Care And Save Cost At The Same Time….

Billions of pounds of savings mandated between now and 2020 must come from non-pay sources.

Most savings from staff pay and property are already banked.  The price the NHS pays for “stuff” has reduced so there is little room for further manoeuvre if suppliers are to remain solvent.

So where’s the fat, how can the NHS become lean?  In commerce, times have never been more competitive.  Nor more cost conscious.  To survive and prosper, the world’s biggest commercial organisations have been forced to look down the barrel of this same gun.  Their answer, embrace more efficient systems.  If Walmart can do it, so can the NHS.

Turn to savings in processes and supply chain management. Every process under the microscope.  Potential savings calculated.  Ranked in order of the best return on investment first.  

The Carter report, the Wachter Review and the NHS Chief Executive’s Sustainability and Transformation “Triple-Aim” of: improved health and wellbeing; transformed quality of care delivery; and sustainable finances.

Enter the simple barcode….. The NHS doesn’t even need to invent new technology.  Just take what’s already tried and tested in Civvy Street.  Adapt and adopt.  Barcoding is an example.  The DH e-Procurement Strategy has outlined best practice.  There are six well-funded demonstrator “Scan-4-Safety” hospitals charting the areas for instant success and quick wins.  GS1 compliance is now mandated for all hospitals.

Moving non-clinical staff from fire-fighting with paper based systems, to a proactive, systems-driven, paperless pathway.  

Clinicians step away from administration duties which add little value, to more bedside time.

Records are accurate, electronic and easy to interrogate.  So that there can NEVER be another PIP implant scandal, where thousands of patients are left vulnerable and at-risk because of poor record-keeping procedures (nothing whatever to do with clinical incompetence).

A simple scan of the patient wristband and scans of the packs of material is all that is required to:

  • record what was consumed during an operation;
  • record the whereabouts of what may need to be recalled
  • create an automated replenishment order based on actual usage
  • deliver an accurate patient and procedure-level cost analysis.

Assistive Partner’s hospital inventory management software – known as UNIQUS HIM, is simple to use and swift to implement.  The business case for its deployment is easy to create and will show how an investment of less than £60,000 per annum is very likely to deliver savings of well over £400,000 per annum when just deployed in a hospital’s operating theatre environment.
Integrate finance and catalogue systems with UNIQUS HIM, use PEPPOL and the resultant end-to-end (P2P) system goes a long way to delivering a digital future and a future-proof operating system across the Trust.  


In our private lives, we order online, realtime updates pushed to our smartphone.  Live digital data, regardless of whether the distance is just down the road (think taxis or pizza deliveries), or a national distribution centre hundreds of miles away.

It’s 2017, the NHS must make full use of similar technologies.

Several Trusts have already led the way.  Working with Assistive Partner and their UNIQUS logistics software, and UNIQUS GO mobile workforce app.  Use of the smartphone camera to scan barcodes.  A finger to capture recipient’s signatures digitally.  And inbuilt GPS to track and record location coordinates in realtime.

Live status reports on the whereabouts of vital hospital supplies or important pathology samples on their way to the laboratory.

Internal mail distribution can be managed with the same software tools.  Assets can have a barcode added and their whereabouts or service requirements tracked and recorded easily.

Peace of mind.  Effective, safe controls to ensure that the most efficient support services are in place.  Enabling clinical staff to focus on patients.  Without the worry and distraction of chasing “stuff”.


Embracing commonplace technology need not be confined to hospitals – Julian Cobbledick, of Assistive Partner says:  “We have been involved in NHS viability studies of the positive impact these software tools have in ensuring accurate tracking of things like community clinical waste”.  

He went on: “Supplies to district nursing and continence teams are also coming under the microscope, ideal candidates for efficiency gains”.

In short, NHS support services are emerging from the 20th Century and realising there are benefits from the paperless digital revolution which we all take for granted elsewhere in our daily lives.

Event Diary

The Emergency Services Show is the UK’s leading annual showcase of the blue light sector, featuring over 450 exhibitors, live demonstrations, unique learning opportunities and unrivalled networking.

Supplier Profiles