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

Tuesday 26 September 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."

NHS Supply Chain is now transacting orders and invoices using the PEPPOL network and have partnered with NetEDI. We now have over 50 live suppliers and this continues to grow. The rollout for on-boarding suppliers and trusts is also underway. Changes have also been made to our systems to allow fully compliant GS1 PEPPOL orders to our suppliers.

NHS Supply Chain’s GS1 Compliance project has delivered several changes to processes and systems to support both customers and suppliers on the journey. A number of our systems now accommodate GTIN and GLN and we have over 120,000 GTINs in our catalogue. GTIN and GLN are now visible through Online Ordering and Catalogue. Our Supplier Portal also holds GTIN and GLN data.

Upcoming changes are planned for delivery labels and price advice notes (PAN) to include GLN as are changes to customer reports.

NHS Supply Chain are currently undergoing prototype work for the Department of Health in relation to the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) and will be undertaking a master data validation and quality control process from GS1 data pools against the Department of Health’s published Data Dictionaries over the next few months.

NHS Supply Chain also provide a free materials management solution to the NHS called eDC Gold. eDC Gold enables products to be tracked to patient, along with inventory visibility on stock holding and visibility of product expiry date so will fully support the Scan4Safety initiative. The outcomes of effectively using the solution include improved patient safety and operational efficiencies.

Resources and links

Department of Health eProcurement Strategy

Guidance for NHS trusts

Guidance for suppliers to the NHS

Guidance on GS1 identification keys

NetEDI website

Setting the Standards Scan4Safety Insert

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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