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Omnicell’s New Awareness Campaign Aims To Help Organisations Prepare For Gs1 Standards

Recent figures suggest that a third of NHS Trusts1 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, Trinity PR is working with Omnicell UK, a leading provider of medication and supply management solutions to the global healthcare market, to launch a new 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 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 which 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 In addition, outdated manual systems are eating-up valuable clinician and healthcare professional time which could be redirected back into face-to-face patient care.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 a staggering £3 million per year2. Yet, as with many aspects of the digital age, it can often be hard to know where to start which is why the new ‘Ready for GS1’ campaign by Omnicell UK aims to debunk the myths and complexities surrounding the issue and offer practical solutions.

The GS1 mandate is set against an alarming back-drop of scandals and worrying statistics in terms of patient safety and care. Many of the 50,000 women in the UK who had PIP breast implants were not aware of which devices they had and due to a lack of effective administration there was and still isn’t a way of communicating to all of those patients affected by the faulty implants3. Access to high quality and reliable data about the performance over the full life of the device or patient is critical to making effective clinical decisions – this is becoming increasingly important as patients are living longer.

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.



  1. GS1 Healthcare Conference 2016 – Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare, GS1 UK
  2. Review of Operational Productivity in the NHS, Providers Interim Report, Lord Carter of Coles, June 2015
  3. Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the General Medical Council, writing in NHE May 2016


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