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Health Minister welcomes Derby Hospitals ‘groundbreaking’ use of barcode technology which could save NHS £ millions

Published 24/03/2016

A project to develop barcode technology, which is being piloted in Derby’s hospitals, has been awarded £2 million of Government funding. 

The Royal Derby is the first hospital in the country to use barcodes, linked to a patient’s wristband, to accurately track the medical equipment used in its operating theatres. 

Minister for NHS Productivity Lord Prior visited the Royal Derby Hospital today to see this innovative barcoding project & announce £2m funding for Derby Teaching Hospitals.

A total of £12 million will be invested across six pilot sites in Derby, Salisbury, North Tees, Cornwall, Plymouth and Leeds. The pilot sites will accelerate the use of electronic procurement systems to help improve NHS efficiency. 

"I was delighted to visit the Royal Derby Hospital today to see this pioneering scheme in action. The extra £2m in funding from the Government announced today will help the hospital to reduce waste, improve safety for patients and ensure they continue to lead the way in this groundbreaking project" said Lord Prior as he toured operating theatres to see the project in action. 

Handheld barcode scanners – based on the same technology used in supermarkets - are transforming surgical operations at the hospital. The barcodes identify each individual patient and create a record of each patient’s operation. 

This shows exactly which hospital staff are in theatre, how long the operation took, precisely what equipment was used and how much it all cost. 

The software also automatically monitors and reorders stock, producing savings of £25,000 per month.

 “We’re delighted to have been chosen as one of the six pilot sites. This gives us money to invest in rolling out this technology across our hospitals over the next 12 months” said Kevin Downs, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Performance: “This barcode scanner technology is already improving patient safety in our hospitals and producing substantial savings. We are keen to lead the way to show others in the NHS how they might benefit.”   

Lord Prior
Last Modified 24/03/2016