Research Output
Benchmarking in National Health Service Procurement in Scotland
  The paper reports the results of a study on benchmarking activities undertaken by the procurement organization within the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland, namely National Procurement (previously Scottish Healthcare Supplies Contracts Branch). NHS performance is of course politically important, and benchmarking is increasingly seen as a means to improve performance, so the study was carried out to determine if the current benchmarking approaches could be enhanced. A review of the benchmarking activities used by the private sector, local government and NHS organizations was carried out to establish a framework of the motivations, benefits, problems and costs associated with benchmarking. This framework was used to carry out the research through case studies and a questionnaire survey of NHS procurement organizations both in Scotland and other parts of the UK. Nine of the 16 Scottish Health Boards surveyed reported carrying out benchmarking during the last three years. The findings of the research were that there were similarities in approaches between local government and NHS Scotland Health, but differences between NHS Scotland and other UK NHS procurement organizations. Benefits were seen as significant and it was recommended that National Procurement should pursue the formation of a benchmarking group with members drawn from NHS Scotland and external benchmarking bodies to establish measures to be used in benchmarking across the whole of NHS Scotland.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 November 2007

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  • Publisher

    Royal Society of Medicine Press

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    362 Social welfare problems & services


Walker, S., Masson, R., Telford, R., & White, D. (2007). Benchmarking in National Health Service Procurement in Scotland. Health Services Management Research, 20, 253-260.



benchmarking; procurement; National Health Service; Scotland; performance; costs; motivations; benefits;

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