The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)

Dakota deploys patient wristbands fully compliant with GS1 Standards

Background and Challenges

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) first engaged with Dakota Healthcare in 2009 as the Trust was looking to adopt barcode technology to use with their patient identification system to improve patient safety. Dakota worked with the Trust to deploy a wristband solution incorporating the Zebra HC100 printer, a unique product in the market dedicated to printing patient wristbands. This was to comply with NPSA regulations, where for patient safety reasons every trust was required to move from hand written to printed wristbands.

In 2016 LTHT re-evaluated the market and undertook an evaluation process, trialling solutions from a variety of suppliers and hardware providers. Dakota Healthcare, as incumbent supplier was invited to provide a solution to comply with the above standards, as well as represent the most cost effective options.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest trusts in the UK and includes the one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. With a focus on providing quality services to both secondary care and specialist tertiary care to the population of Leeds and the surrounding area. LTHT is also a regional centre for a number of specialist services such as cancer and cardiac surgery, and the Trust is recognised as a national centre of excellence for specialist services such as paediatric and adult liver transplantation. The Trust has approximately 2,500 inpatient beds together with critical care and day case beds. In total, LTHT employs over 14,000 staff across six sites, treating around a million patients a year with a budget of £789m.


Dakota was able to reference the GS1 accredited patient wristband projects they successfully deployed at numerous NHS Trusts, including:

  • Central Manchester Foundation Trust
  • Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
  • Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust 
  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust 

The solution incorporated the provision of the wristband printer hardware along with a bespoke program to take a feed from the Trust’s Patient Administration System (PAS) and re-format the date into a compliant wristband layout to meet ISB Standards.

As Zebra’s Premier Solution Partner in healthcare, Dakota worked closely with the Trust and Zebra Technologies to provide a fully compliant solution with the Trust’s CSC Clinicom PAS System and include a 2D GS1 Data Matrix barcode for ease of scanning to successfully verify the patient identification.

As GS1 Solution Partner, Dakota Healthcare was able to offer considerable technical expertise backed up by numerous reference sites to consult with the Trust to ensure compliance with the program. 

Additional to the wristband formatting, Dakota provided a comprehensive proposal to swap out the existing, aged wristband printers from 2009 and provide considerable and sustainable cost savings for the ongoing consumable items by working with NHS Supply Chain to reduce the pricing on the new Zebra Z-Band UltraSoft wristband, thereby allowing the Trust to save money whilst improving the patient experience.

The HC100 dedicated wristband printer by Zebra Technologies was chosen by the Trust against other competing brands as a truly fit for purpose printer. Designed and manufactured specifically for healthcare applications, the HC100 is built with genuine healthcare plastics to support the Trusts’ infection control regime. As Zebra Technologies strongest and fastest growing partner in the healthcare environment, Dakota was able to offer LTHT sustainable savings through NHS Supply Chain, with whom Dakota Healthcare enjoys a long-standing and successful relationship. 

Zebra Z-Band UltraSoft were recommended as the most suitable wristband to use with the HC100 wristband printers. Z-Band UltraSoft bands are one of the softest and most comfortable direct thermal wristband on the market. Resistant to hand sanitisers, they are also scannable for up to 14 days. 

Following the successful delivery of this GS1 compliant patient wristband solution, Dakota Healthcare is now working with the Trust on other aspects of GS1 compliance such as GLN (Global Location Numbering) printing, scanning and bedside mobility projects.


  • Cost savings for both the hardware refresh and ongoing purchase of wristbands
  • Superior product in the Z-Band UltraSoft wristband, to enhance the patient experience
  • Local resource offering outstanding technical support. Minimal resource from the Trust IT department was needed

"Dakota were able to demonstrate, in a timely 
and flexible manner, how to correctly format 
patient wristbands to comply with GS1 Standards. 
LTHT had been trying to achieve compliance 
for circa 6 months, without success."

Chris Slater, Head of Procurement and Supplies