NJR implant pricing study wins Benchmarking Award

6 December 2013
Adult Social Care
The National Joint Registry for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NJR) has been awarded a prestigious Benchmarking Institute Best Practice Club Award. The accolade is in recognition of excellence as demonstrated by best practice in the NJR’s recent pilot benchmarking study.
The pilot looked at the recording and reporting of hip and knee implant pricing variation across the National Health Service (NHS). Its aim is to drive improvement in the procurement of orthopaedic implants, to ensure patients get the highest quality care whilst making the best possible use of available resources.
Completed in partnership with the Department of Health’s Procurement, Investment and Commercial Division and supported by the first Clinical Procurement Review Partnership in Orthopaedics. Some of the key findings from 35 Trusts and Health Boards in England and Wales were:
  • If all Trusts/Health Boards (in the cohort) paid the average price for the surveyed implant components the annual saving across the organisations would be approximately £2 million. If the best price was paid, the savings could approach £8 million per year
  • In many cases, the prices paid did not have a significant relationship to the volumes used/purchased
  • In any single organisation, there was variation in the average price of implants used in primary hip and knee surgery across surgeons
  • The selection and usage of implants by an individual surgeon played a significant part in establishing the average price of implants for any particular unit
  • The reports and outputs were found to be of value to the Trusts/health Boards, and served to inform conversations between local procurement and clinical teams, and also across regional and national representatives
National Lead for the NJR Elaine Young said: “The NJR is very pleased to have received this Award. The pilot study is an exciting project and has the potential, with further work, to provide a national service to hospitals that will help to make cost and efficiency savings. Special thanks go to NJR contractor Northgate Information Solutions for their design and implementation of the pilot, and to the DH team for their sponsorship of this work and to all those providers who took part.”
John Warrington, Deputy Director, NHS Procurement Policy and Research for the Department of Health said: “It is good to see this ground-breaking piece of benchmarking, bringing clinical and commercial management information together has been recognised as a success. 
"This is a step towards ending the scandalous situation where one hospital spends hundreds of thousands more than another hospital just down the road on something like a hip implant, simply because they haven't got the right systems in place to ensure value for money for local patients. This programme shows our radical new procurement strategy is helping the NHS get a grip on wasteful spending to drive real change and improved procurement practices so that more of the NHS's resources can be spent on frontline patient care."