Brenmoor's barcode system could save the NHS millions

A YORKSHIRE firm hopes to save the NHS millions of pounds every year by devising a system that stops blood samples going astray.

The product uses complex barcodes to ensure that blood and other samples have the right labels.

It has been devised by Brenmoor, which supplies hospitals with printable wristbands and labels.

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Hundreds of hand-written labelling errors occur in UK hospitals each day after a patient has given a specimen or blood sample.

Detailed information about each patient has to be recorded on the sample tube.

However, if any of the information has been written incorrectly on the label then the lab cannot analyse the sample.

The patient has to provide a second sample, which wastes time and money.

Brenmoor, based in Cross Hills, West Yorkshire, is developing a system which it believes will stop labelling errors.

At the time the wristband is printed with the patient's details, a two dimensional bar-code is added which contains all of the information in coded form.

Paul Brennan, one of the directors of Brenmoor, said: "The barcodes used in supermarkets are one dimensional.They offer a string of numbers used to identify a product.

"The ones we use are two dimensional barcodes and hold a lot more information. You can get a paragraph of information into something no larger than the size of your thumb nail."

When a sample is taken from a patient, the barcode is scanned and the information is printed on a label which is identical to the details on the wristband.

This should mean that the sample arrives at the lab with the correct information.

Mr Brennan added: "Millions of pounds are lost every year in the NHS through lost time and wasted bed days.

"This system will help to reduce that figure. It is simple to use, saves time on the wards and in the labs."

The product is going through a trial phase, and the company has reported "significant interest" from the UK and overseas.

Mr Brennan added: "A hospital can cut down on costs by using many of our products. They add a layer of security and make the hospitals more efficient.

"They are always easy to use and they make the patients' hospital journey a lot more streamlined.

"The hospitals recognise this. Hospitals come to us with a problem and ask if we can develop something that would help."

The company has a turnover of 1.3m, which Mr Brennan believes could double this year. Brenmoor has seven staff at its Cross Hills site, but Mr Brennan believes this number could increase if the firm wins new orders.

He added: "We would like to grow and develop more products."