8th April 2011
Hip replacement patients are being classed as "low priority" cases in many parts of the UK, meaning they have to wait longer for essential surgery.
A survey completed by the BBC found that patients around the UK had to wait several months for hip replacement operations in a bid by the NHS to save money. Knee replacement surgery was also seen to be a low priority procedure.
The results of the survey showed that patients now had to be more disabled or in a greater amount of pain in order to qualify for an operation, with many of the planned operations being put on hold, the Press Association reported.
Peter Kay, president of the British Orthopaedic Association, said: "General practitioners were told not to send as many patients to hospital, maybe to delay referrals until the end of the financial year while perhaps introducing thresholds for surgery.
"In other words, reassessing patients to make sure they were really quite bad before they progressed through the system."
The Department of Health said the local NHS had to make decision based on clinical need.
A report by the BBC reported last year that the average waiting time for a hip operation was 77 days, compared with 212 in 2003.
By Edward Bartel
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