British Surgery Wait Times Now 5 Months!
Biloine W. Young • Mon, February 26th, 2018
Wait times for joint replacement surgery in the United Kingdom have gone from 18 weeks to 18 months in four years, according to Sophie Borland and Fiona Parker, writing for England’s Daily Mail.
Many of the waiting patients are in severe pain and can walk only short distances. For a knee replacement, the wait for surgery is typically nearly five months, although many face longer delays.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals in Truro said some patients last year waited 260 days, more than eight and a half months, for a knee replacement while 232 waited for similar lengths of time for a hip replacement.
At Manchester University Hospitals, patients needing a knee replacement waited 253 days and for a hip replacement 249 days. This is twice as long as the NHS’ (National Health Service) target of 18 weeks—or 126 days—for all types of non-emergency surgery.
Ian Eardley, of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “With an ageing population, more and more people require surgery to replace hips and knees. Hip and knee replacements are some of the most cost-effective procedures available. It is unacceptable that so many people are having to wait so long.”
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: “It is extremely worrying that older people are being forced to wait so long for operations that can make a life-changing difference. Delaying treatments can cause huge physical and emotional distress. It is absolutely essential that older people who need operations are able to get them within a reasonable timescale.”
A total of 86 hospital trusts—around half of those in England—reported that the average waiting time for a hip replacement last year was 19.3 weeks, and for a knee replacement was 20.5 weeks. The delay for both hip and knee replacements had increased by 40% since 2013/14.