The barcodes, which will be read by handheld scanners, are to be issued to patients from October neaxt year under the orders of the Information Standards Board (ISB) for Health and Social Care.
By next April trusts have must plans on how they will implement the change-over.
The ISB is imposing the rule to cut down on the number of avoidable errors like patients being given the wrong medication.
Studies show they can stop such administrative errors by 42 per cent, according to Franck Riout of Zebra Technologies, which makes barcoding systems for NHS trusts.
Read More: All patients to be barcoded by 2013