Traffic Light Support System

How can nursing teams continue to focus fully on patient care, whilst still delivering efficiencies and savings to help retain staff and frontline services?

As a key organisation supporting the delivery of improved efficiencies and savings to the NHS around the purchasing of clinical supplies, we wanted to focus on how we could support the nursing community in these difficult economic times.

It became clear that helping raise awareness around how clinical supplies could be used more efficiently was not a new concept, with many trusts already investing in their own campaigns. One popular approach identified was the addition of stickers, with prices on shelves, in storage rooms and areas, to raise awareness of the cost of clinical supplies being used.

Feedback on this approach from a number of trusts confirmed that using stickers to increase awareness of cost was helping drive efficiencies.

However, it was often difficult and labour intensive to manage, particularly keeping the stickers up to date as prices changed so often. Prices on too many items also meant it was hard not to become blind to a ‘sea of stickers’.


To take the sticker concept, started by nursing teams across the NHS to highlight cost efficiencies, and develop it into a simple, less time demanding solution.

The stickers needed a longer shelf life, with greater visibility and flexibility to help drive efficiencies and awareness. They also needed to be adaptable enough so they could be tailored to the individual needs of each trust.

What are the benefits?

TLSS Benefits
  • The traffic light support system can help raise awareness of the cost of clinical supplies.
  • It has great potential to reduce the time spent looking for clinical supplies and to help with standardisation.
  • It helps to get purchasing on the radar of your nursing teams, giving them a platform from which to share new and additional ways to improve patient safety and make savings for your trust.
  • It supports the sharing of good practice.
  • It was identified as the most essential tool by nurses if they were to look at improving patient safety, quality and value in their organisations, by looking at the clinical supplies they buy.
    Source: Nursing Times survey December 2014.

Case study

See how we developed the system working with Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. What they've learnt and How they have benefited.


User guide

Download your user guide to help you get the right people on board at you trust, develop a plan of action and make it happen.


Starter pack

Order your FREE Traffic light support system posters, stickers and badges.

Delivering value to the NHS