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NHS ‘can save up to one billion pounds’ through using barcodes



Department of Health makes forecast on results from pilots in Scan4Safety programme

Early results from six pilot projects on the use of barcodes in the NHS have prompted a forecast of up to £1 billion in savings for the health service over the next seven years.

The Department of Health (DoH) has made the projection for the Scan4Safety programme, which is testing the use of barcodes in keeping track of patients, equipment and medicines in healthcare.

The programme involves six trusts – Derby Teaching Hospital, the Leeds Teaching Hospital, North Tees and Hartlepool, Plymouth Hospitals, Royal Cornwall and Salisbury – and is being used to support processes in patient identification, location numbering, catalogue management, product recall, purchase to pay and inventory management.

It is running in compliance with GS1 standards for barcodes and those within the Pan European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) framework.

World first

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said: “Scan4Safety is a world first in healthcare – and a vital part of this Government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world.

“Using simple barcodes that major industries rely on every day will help to transform standards of care – before, during and after patients have treatment, at the same time as freeing up resources for care by reducing waste.”

The DoH cited the experience of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, saying that its use of the technology cardiology has helped to make the products used completely traceable. This is reducing the time – estimated at an hour per shift – that nurses spend searching for stock, removing inventory errors and registering ‘use by’ dates on medicines and equipment.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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