NHS Supply Chain has announced that eight suppliers have been chosen to provide patient identification wristbands to hospitals in England and Wales.

The move follows studies published by the National Patient Safety Agency showing that a high proportion of patient safety incidents are linked to patients not wearing wristbands or wearing wristbands with incorrect information on them.

NHS organisations are being urged to standardise wristbands and link them to IT systems. By July this year, wristbands must conform to a recommended design and by July next year they must be printed from a patient demographic system, such as a hospital PAS.

One of the contract winners is LaserBand. Its products can record patient data in handwritten, embossed/imprinted, laser printed or direct thermal printed form. It also offers self-laminating wristbands that protect against wear and fluids.

"A simple patient identification wristband can be the difference between the wrong treatment being administered and the right one," said Tony Rich, head of information management and technology for the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, which chose LaserBand against competing products.

"LaserBand’s self-laminating technology reduces the need to re-band a patient, thus increasing patient safety by removing opportunities to make an error," said Jorik Ittmann, vice president of business development worldwide.

Another contract winner was the British company, Brenmoor Ltd, which offers thermally printed wristbands that are also resistant to soaps, alcohol and other fluids and can come with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology fitted.

Brenmoor says its products are already in use in more than 50 UK hospitals. "To be chosen by NHS Supply Chain as the only European manufacturer of printable wristbands is an exciting and challenging prospect and we are very much looking forward to working alongside them in the coming years," said Paul Brennan from the company.

NHS Supply Chain supplied the following list of contract winners to E-Health Insider:

Brenmoor (printable)

Digital ID (write on and card insert)

LaserBand (printable)

Medisavers (write on and card insert)

P3 Medical (write on)

Robinsons Healthcare (write on and card insert)

Sato (printable)

Speed Plastics (write on)

Links: More information about LaserBand and the products covered by the new contract are available on its website.

More information about Brenmoor is available on its website.