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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. Jul 2005; 87(4): 269–273.
PMCID: PMC1963949

Waiting time for primary hip replacement--a matter of priority.


INTRODUCTION: Government reformers often allocate priority to patients based on the time spent on a waiting list. This may conflict with the surgeon's agenda of priority based upon clinical need. METHODS: We reviewed 125 consecutive patients who were awaiting total hip replacement on one consultant's surgical waiting list. We assessed hip pain and function by using a modified Harris Hip Score, which was calculated at the time of addition to the surgical waiting list, at pre-operative assessment and at 6 months' follow-up. RESULTS: Analysis showed that although many patients (31.2%) deteriorate on a surgical waiting list, not all do so. Some stay clinically the same (53.8%) and some improve (15%) while awaiting surgery. CONCLUSION: Patients should not be prioritised solely on the length of time they have spent on a surgical waiting list. Waiting lists should be continually reviewed.

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