1 Feb 2017

Plymouth Hospitals
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Plymouth, first Trust in NHS England to successfully generate and apply GLN labels to the GS1 requisite standards

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest hospital trust in the south west peninsula and is a teaching trust in partnership with the Peninsula Medical School. It provides full range of general hospital services to around 450,000 people in Plymouth, North and East Cornwall and South and West Devon. These include emergency and trauma services, maternity services, paediatrics and a full range of diagnostic, medical and surgical sub-specialties.

The trust has approximately 900 inpatient beds, employees over 6,000 staff and sees more than 48,000 people pass through its main site at Derriford Hospital every week.


Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust first engaged with Dakota Healthcare at the GS1 UK Healthcare Conference in April 2016. The Trust was in the process of rolling out Global Location Numbers (GLNs) as a way of managing their locations in a cost-effective and consistent way in line with Department of Health standards. The GLN offers a unique number to every location which will allow the Trust’s property management system to route information to the other systems with no manual involvement.

The Trust were specifically looking for a knowledgeable partner to help them with a printing solution to allow Estate staff to print GLN labels remotely whilst on site, thus ensuring that the correct label is applied to the correct location.

GS1 Standards


It was agreed by the GLN Project Board at Plymouth that the approach to comply with GS1 GLN standards needed to be consistent with a uniform process for numbering systems across the Trust to ensure finding locations could be achieved without the need for a floor plan.

60% of the locations in the main site were identified as non-clinical and prioritised initially in order to achieve the Department of Health requirements that 50% of Trust locations (Level 5 rooms and spaces) had GS1 barcodes affixed. This approach means the project team can spend more time engaging with clinical staff to ensure this important GLN labelling initiative in clinical areas will be rolled out effectively and efficiently.

Plymouth NHS Trust uses Micad as its property management system. Micad was identified as the local GLN registry.

Following discussions with the Trust Dakota Healthcare provided a bespoke solution incorporating an application which would sit on a mobile device to generate and print GLN barcodes in situ; the application was tested on site by Estates staff to ensure conformity with the program and ease of use. Dakota recommended a range of Tablet devices as well as recommendations on the most suitable mobile label printers for the identified requirements.

Dakota were given a database containing the locations and their associated GLN codes and developed an Android app to enable the Trust to print and visually verify the GLN labels. Functionality within the app ensures staff are able to see whether or not a label has been printed. Dakota also provided guidance on an Android tablet device (MioCARE A335), which meant the Estates staff could print the labels whilst on-site, thereby helping to ensure that the correct label was attached to the location. Once the hardware and software had been successfully configured, the P4T mobile receipt printer by Zebra Technologies was selected .It offers thermal transfer printing for longevity and enabled the team to be mobile when printing using the Bluetooth connectvity. GLN labels are printed using a GS1-128 linear barcode containing the GLN number and human readable number.

Dakota Healthcare also assisted with the trialling of various label materials to ensure the Trust selected the most suitable label to comply with the Trust’s infection control regime. Polyester labels successfully passed rigorous testing with the Trust’s cleaning products, and were supplied as part of the Dakota solution.


As a result of the collaboration with Dakota Healthcare, Plymouth were the first Trust in NHS England to successfully generate and physically apply GLN labels to the GS1 requisite standards.

Sandie Wills, Scan4Safety Project Manager said:

Dakota have offered excellent customer service, not only by developing a bespoke printing solution, but also in assisting us with our selection of the best printer and consumables. Their attention to detail and responsiveness has made them a pleasure to do business with and has enabled us to be the first Trust to commence applying GS1 compliant Global Location Numbers to our estate.