People in Surgery Waiting Room

With the chaos of the pandemic receding in the rear-view mirror, where do we stand in terms of wait times for elective procedures like knee replacements? YKC’s Jim Newman, Head of Clinical Service for Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, explains.

You don’t have to search hard for patients who are still waiting too long for knee replacements. I see them every day. Regularly, you’ll find their stories online, like this piece in The Guardian. The pandemic, of course, was disastrous for an NHS that was already under immense strain when it hit. Brexit has also impacted supply chains and they are no longer as robust as they once were.

These combined impacts are being felt across the patient journey, and there are simply too many stages in the journey which could and should be better but for the lack of staff, access to theatre, or equipment problems.

Things are improving slowly, but the situation remains dire and that is incredibly frustrating for patients and for those of us working in the NHS.

> Questions about your knee surgery?
> Discover more about partial or total knee replacements


How long are knee replacement waiting lists?

We’re anticipating that over the next year, waiting lists for joint replacement will drop to 18 months – which is the current target. It will probably be 18 months before wait times return to pre-Covid levels and targets drop to 52 weeks, but while that certainly counts as progress, it hardly qualifies as ‘good’.


Are NHS patients being treated in private hospitals to reduce waiting times?

In relatively small numbers, yes. The numbers being put through private hospitals for knee replacement was larger but as many more people have taken the private healthcare route there’s simply less capacity in the private system to absorb too many NHS patients.


Will you get a knee replacement faster by choosing private surgery?

Yes, unquestionably. But while any private knee surgeon will be happy to treat patients who take that route out of choice, we really don’t want to face large numbers of patients who are seeing us because they feel forced to because they have no other option.

That’s why we continue to work with our NHS colleagues to reduce NHS wait times, but it’s a complex problem that extends far beyond the hospital, with political, economic, supply chain, social and personal factors all combining to make driving down waiting lists an enormous challenge.

Nevertheless, we’ll keep working towards it.

To explore options for your knee replacement, please contact us, or phone us on 03453 052 579.

> Find out more about Jim Newman
> Questions about your knee surgery?
> Discover more about partial or total knee replacements

James Newman

James Newman

Private appointments weekly at Spire Methley Park Hospital

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Sera Robertson
Spire Methley Park
01977 664 230

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