It has recently been reported that financial pressures within the NHS in the UK are leading some CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) to consider limiting joint replacement procedures in the hospitals within their areas by 12% for hip and 19% for knee arthroplasties respectively. They will do this by treating only cases where the “patient’s pain and disability should be sufficiently severe that it interferes with the patient’s daily life and/or ability to sleep”, using the patient’s Oxford Hip Score as a determining factor.
There has been criticism of the proposal from orthopaedic surgeons, both from a financial as well as a clinical perspective. Grant Shaw, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, UK acknowledges that “joint replacement surgery is an expensive and complex, invasive operation with significant risks” but he is adamant that these are far outweighed by “the huge potential benefits for the patient.” He says “In order to realise these benefits the surgery has to be done at the right time and for the right reasons for each individual patient.”
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