GS1 UK announces partnership with NHS Wales

GS1 UK has announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with NHS Wales to drive the adoption of GS1 standards within healthcare settings across the UK.

NHS Wales becomes the third devolved nation – alongside England and Northern Ireland – to commit to the adoption of these standards to underpin traceability across healthcare. The decision to do so has been driven by the objectives of the Welsh Government’s Plan for Health and Social Care – A Healthier Wales. The plan centres on harnessing existing resources and investing in new technology, to deliver better outcomes for their patient populations.

The strategic Scan for Safety Wales Project Board, established to manage the rollout, will initially focus on developing a national inventory-management system to improve the traceability of healthcare products throughout the supply chain.

Not only will this serve to provide greater control over stock and reduce the volume of system-wide waste, but it will also facilitate the rapid identification of defective products to transform the product-recall process – a crucial patient-safety benefit. Phase two of the work plan will begin in parallel, to expand the adoption of GS1 standards to encompass the unique identification of every person, every product, and every place across all NHS Wales organisations.

Glen Hodgson, head of healthcare at GS1 UK, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with NHS Wales on their Scan for Safety project. By working together, we can support the project board to deliver enhanced patient safety, reduce unwarranted clinical variation, and improve operational efficiencies across their entire healthcare system. “Furthermore, because GS1 standards are both system and device agnostic, any data captured can be shared effortlessly between systems and organisations. This is the key to improving the patient care journey – enabling access to accurate patient information in real time, irrespective of where that care was received.”

Evidence of such outcomes have already been seen across NHS trusts in England, in the publication of the Scan4Safety report in July 2020.