Omnicell launches campaign to help NHS Trusts prepare for GS1


New awareness campaign to help organisations meet the minimum GS1 Standards required by the DoH for inventory management by 2019/20

Recent figures, revealed at the GS1 Healthcare Conference 2016 by Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare, GS1 UK, suggest that a third of NHS Trusts are still not engaged in GS1, despite the Department of Health (DoH) mandate announced in 2014 to use barcoding standards for all Acute Trusts.

To help tackle this issue Omnicell UK, a leading provider of medication and supply management solutions to the global healthcare market, has launched a campaign, ‘Ready for GS1?’, to help organisations meet the minimum GS1 Standards required by the DoH for inventory management by 2019/20.

The initial interim report into operational productivity within the NHS by Lord Carter of Coles, published in June 2015, made it clear that hospital efficiency needed to be at a consistently high standard and highlighted the need to embrace innovation and digital technology to ensure continual improvement. Many hospitals are yet to automate their medical supply and medication processes; this means they are holding months of supplies unnecessarily and are unable to automatically reorder new medication/stock or provide an accurate figure of individual patient treatment costs.

Hospitals are wasting millions of pounds on supplies they don’t need simply because they don’t know what is being used, where, how and by whom. In addition, outdated manual systems are eating-up valuable clinician and healthcare professional time which could be redirected back into face-to-face patient care. Such is the scale of the problem that the report predicts that the introduction of the GS1 programme will allow every hospital to on average save £3m per year.

Acknowledging that it can often be hard to know where to start, the new ‘Ready for GS1’ campaign by Omnicell UK aims to debunk the myths and complexities surrounding the issue and offer practical solutions. The awareness campaign, which aims to ensure GS1 standards are adopted by all hospitals, will include a number of activities such as:

  • Social media campaign using Twitter #readyforGS1
  • Development and distribution of educational materials e.g leaflets, brochures
  • Advertising & educational features in trade media

As part of the campaign programme Omnicell will be working with a number of NHS hospitals to get them up to GS1 standards before sharing best practice from the sites later in the year. One of these hospitals is the University Hospital of North Tees.

Philip Dean, Chief Pharmacist, North Tees & Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: '“We already know from experience that the introduction of Omnicell’s ward-based automated technology fundamentally improves medicines management. The addition of GS1 codes will enable the rich flow through of information and integration with other clinical and logistics systems, the benefits are obvious.'

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'GS1 standards need to be in place by 2019/20 and that’s why it’s crucial for all Trusts to be in the process of developing a robust plan,' said Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director for Omnicell. 'We have already helped 100 NHS hospitals to save a total of £50m with our range of solutions. Drawing on 20 years’ experience in ensuring the health of patients through reliable inventory management systems, we know that one system won’t fit every hospital. As such, we can commit a dedicated project team to design a solution that will fit each individual scenario.'