The Carter Report and Scan4Safety:
Transforming the procurement process

James Minards, Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland, GHX

With almost two decades experience in the supply chain industry, including fourteen years spent within the healthcare sector, James has worked across both suppliers, providers and in consultancy roles. His extensive experience of both the technology and the market enables him to marry solutions, systems and requirements to meet customer needs. James is a particular champion of the GS1 and Scan4Safety programme, helping to deliver both the processes and systems which improve both patient safety and drive business efficiencies.  James shares his views on realising the drivers, benefits and efficiencies of the Carter Report and Scan4Safety:



The Carter Report, first published in 2016, highlighted the need for hospitals to standardise procedures, be more transparent, improve financial control and, work more closely with neighbouring NHS Trusts. The objective being to enable trusts – and the NHS as a whole – to save money whilst improving patient care.

Acute NHS trusts spend £55.6B each year, of which £33.9B goes on staffing costs. The Report estimated that a 1% improvement in staff productivity alone would save the NHS £280M per year. The Report also highlighted how procurement transformation, if systematically implemented, can save the NHS £5bn a year by 2020.

Realising the drivers, benefits and efficiencies

The real drivers, benefits and efficiencies of the Carter Report and subsequent Scan4Safety programme, are realisable in the form of enhanced data gathering and analysis, procedural efficiencies and improved safety. There are also real cost saving opportunities evidenced not just through the rationalisation and standardisation of products and processes, but by utilising the latest technology to iron out inefficiencies for both suppliers and provider organisations.

For me, the real evidence of this is not just in capturing what item has been used by which surgeon on which patient, and being able to manage the safe application of clinical engagement, rather it’s in the real, day-to-day, operational aspects of processing invoices and other transactional information. The use of e-invoicing and automated matching capabilities means that valuable resource can be freed up from manual and time heavy data entry (ie both scanning and manually entering invoice information), and be replaced with high quality, high accuracy electronic data files, procedures and processes.

A working example of this is a GHX customer based in the South West of England. This NHS hospital now receives over 10% of its invoices electronically, which has freed up the staff ordinarily involved in entering that data, allowing their time to be better and more valuably deployed elsewhere.  Another key example of this, on the supplier side, is a large supplier of hospital scrubs who are responsible for 15% of invoice volumes at another GHX customer based in the north of England. By converting these invoices to an electronic data feed, the improvements in data efficiency and processing has released full-time equivalents, thus creating a cash releasing saving to the organisation. In addition, a major manufacturer and supplier of medical equipment, which at one point had a 15% invoice match rate when dealing with data not managed through the Scan4Safety process, now have a match rate of 50%, achieved within three months of switching. These procedural improvements have resulted in efficiencies both at the supplier’s end - dealing with and managing these issues - and at the trust end - where a lot of time and effort was eaten up trying to identify why the data didn’t match.

These examples serve to illustrate how the recommendations from the Carter Report and the efficiencies of the Scan4Safety programme are truly are realisable and can be evidenced at a number of levels within both supplier and provider organisations.  The ultimate reward being the ability to direct time previously taken up with admin back into increased time caring for the patient and improving patient outcomes.


What to do next?

Systematically transforming your procurement procedures is the key to realising efficiencies and savings in this area, however, the challenge is identifying where to focus your resources to realise the greatest impact.  This is where GHX can help. Our Carter and Scan4Safety Procurement Review will not only deliver a detailed, independent review of your readiness to achieve the Carter recommendations, but also equip you with a practical roadmap for implementation. 

As market leaders in healthcare procurement, we leverage 20 years of healthcare expertise, using an established and proven methodology, which includes data gathering, on-site interviews of key procurement personnel and gap analysis of all the key Carter procurement and Scan4Safety areas.

This cost-effective and time-efficient approach can deliver an actionable report in as little as four weeks from initial on-site surveys. For more information please click here.