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Hip and knee operations 'being delayed'

November 25, 2010

Hip and knee operations are being reclassified as low priority as NHS healthcare bodies look to save money, it has been reported.

Hundreds of people in England are having to wait for longer periods of time for healthcare treatment to their hips and knees.

According to an investigation by BBC Radio 4, a growing number of primary care trusts are reclassifying operations on these areas of the body as low priority, leading to delays.

The changes put the treatments in the same category as lesser ailments such as varicose veins and trigger finger.

Peter Kay, president of the British Orthopaedic Association, said patients are being taken off waiting lists by some trusts, leading to the possibility their conditions may get worse.

"If you operate late, when someone is quite bad you don't get quite as good a result. Some patients are waiting up until April next year," he explained.

The average interval period for a hip operation on the NHS is 77 days, according to the latest statistics.

Earlier this month, Karen Jennings, head of health for Unison, warned funding cutbacks in the NHS are likely to damage the standard of healthcare that can be provided to patients.

Published by Sue Clarkson

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