What are the main problems with GS1 and manufactured NHS products
- Very few suppliers to the NHS use GS1 numbers to identify their products
- The GS1 is pack size specific, meaning different quantities have different GS1s
- Gaining and using data from products with GS1 numbers and integrating the information with suppliers that do not, is difficult
- The GS1 cannot be easily used to compare prices on the same products from the same or different supplier
- Using GS1 information to improve efficiency and make cash savings has also proved difficult
There is only one way to link all the information, and that is to use a Standardised Code and Description, the National Supply Vocabulary, which was created for the NHS and is still in use today*.
How Does GS1 work with NSV
Linking GS1 numbers to NSVs code means that you can link all the information related to a standardised description, overcoming the problems of GS1 codes being pack size and manufacturer specific.
This is the key to creating accurate procurement history on all products and services which can aid benchmarking prices, standardisation, rationalisation and reduced spend. This is how the £500 million savings per annum by the NHS, estimated by the NAO in their report, ‘The procurement of consumables by NHS acute and Foundation trusts’ can be made.
How can GS1 be linked to NHS-eClass
In the example above it is shown that all GS1 codes can be linked to a NSV code whether they are for static product, or more complex information. Once the GS1 information is linked to a NSV code the product and quantity is correctly identified, it can then be used on the procurement history record. As each NSV code is matched to a NHS-eClass code, a management report in NHS-eClass format should be easy to produce.