NHS Digital has entered a five-year partnership which will see NHS trusts use GS1 standards.

The partnership between the organisation and GS1 UK, will start with patient wristbands and extend to location management using the Global Location Number registry.

This will enable the NHS in England to support the unique identification of every person, every product and every place, from care-givers to beds.

Tom Denwood, executive director for data, insights and statistics at NHS Digital, said: “The Department of Health and Social Care’s e-procurement strategy mandates the use of GS1 standards in every NHS acute trust in England, We hope this five-year contract will drive a range of efficiencies for staff and patients, while improving the quality and safety of care.

“Open standards offer more consistency across the board and reduce unwanted clinical variations. Harnessing technology to make the most of the information we have at our fingertips is the quickest and safest way to make real improvements.”

In 2016, six demonstrator sites were chosen to use of GS1 barcoding standards and received a share of £12 million in funding from the government.

This included University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust which has made nearly £4 million in savings since their roll out of GS1 standards.

Gary Lynch, chief executive at GS1 UK, added: “The NHS long-term plan clearly sets out its commitment to increasing the use of technology to improve standards of care and this partnership is clear evidence of it making good on that promise.

“Embedding open standards and technology will continue to save thousands of lives and millions of pounds, as well as freeing up countless staff hours that can be better spent doing what NHS staff do best – offering the best patient care.

“Implementing unique identifiers allows for increased traceability and visibility throughout the entire patient care pathway, meaning we are able to support NHS professionals to deliver improved patient care.”