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Enabling our customers and suppliers to use GS1 standards and transact via PEPPOL

Friday 24 February 2017

The Department of Health’s (DH) eProcurement strategy lays out changes that will improve patient Safety, drive efficiencies and achieve savings. A key element of this strategy is the adoption of common global standards as such the DH established Scan4Safety programme. This programme has been working with six demonstrator trusts to establish the benefits on patient safety and savings of using barcoding technology and standardising electronic messages.

Early results from the demonstrator sites suggest the programme has the potential to save lives and up to £1billion for the NHS over seven years. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said, "Scan4Safety is a world first in healthcare – and a vital part of this government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world."

"Using simple barcodes that major industries rely on every day will help to transform standards of care – before, during and after patients have treatment, at the same time as freeing up resources for care by reducing waste."

In line with the strategy and programme NHS Supply Chain has established an eProcurement programme that is focused on making the changes to our processes and systems needed to support our customers and suppliers on this journey.

NHS Supply Chain has a PEPPOL* service provider – NetEDI and is now transacting using this method. The use of this service for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) orders will be rolled out across suppliers and trusts supporting the NHS in its’ goal of standardisation.

Throughout 2017 NHS Supply Chain will be implementing a programme of change to accommodate the use of GS1 keys and has been working with the Scan4Safety teams to define these changes. They will include updating customer facing systems; eDC/eDC Gold (Electronic Demand Capture), EDI, Online Catalogue and supplier portal, along with our internal systems, to support customers and suppliers in implementing the eProcurement strategy.

In February we released the first element of this functionality where GTINs* and GLNs* will now be visible. We have also undertaken activity to validate our GTINs that have been provided by suppliers with GS1 thereby ensuring that our customers have access to quality GS1 data for our products.

In line with the eProcurement strategy NHS Supply Chain will hold and utilise GS1 data (GTIN and GLNs) provided by trusts and suppliers. Should you be ready to provide this data or wish to transact using a PEPPOL provider please contact us on the below email address.

Finally the DH is working closely with GS1 to support suppliers and trusts in implementing the eProcurement strategy, should you require more information on what you need to do please see the below links.

Resources and links

Department of Health eProcurement Strategy

Guidance for NHS trusts

Guidance for suppliers to the NHS

Guidance on GS1 identification keys

For all NHS Supply Chain enquiries relating to GS1 and PEPPOL please email

* PEPPOL (Pan European Public Procurement Online) is the messaging standard that can be used to manage the flow of data such as invoices to and from the NHS and suppliers

GS1 is a global standard that uses GTIN and GLN, (GTIN – Global Trade Identification Number, GLN – Global Location Number). The GTIN is the barcode on the product, the brand owner is responsible for assigning and registering the GTIN, the GLN represents a physical or virtual location so for example our warehouse, an invoice location, a delivery point or a Trust REQ point.

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