The UK National Joint Registry was set up by The Department of Health in 2002 to hold information on joint replacement operations and to monitor the performance of implants, hospitals and surgeons. To date, the registry holds nearly 2 million records, which makes it the largest of its kind in the world.
An annual report is produced by the National Joint Registry and is available for general viewing (www.njrreports.org.uk). An individual surgeon’s and hospital results are also available at www.njrsurgeonhospitalprofile.org.uk.
Over 100,000 knee replacements were performed in the UK last year, and 600.000 in the US. This figure is growing annually and is due to a number of factors, including an increasing older population that wish to remain active.
It is predicted that the number of knee replacements performed in the US will increase by 600% by 2030. This statistic is a useful indicator for potential UK trends that will cause an impact on public sector finances. Inevitably, it also leads to ask how this rise in demand will be funded for NHS patients.
In many areas of the country patient access for joint replacement is being made more difficult by utilising arbitrary non-validated screening tools. For example, patients in some areas of the country are being denied access if their BMI is elevated or they continue to smoke.
Knee replacement is one of the most successful operations in orthopaedic surgery and the results continue to improve. It is now well accepted that the quality of service is linked to the number of patients being treated by specialist surgeons and units.
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