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J Public Health Med. 1990 Feb;12(1):56-9.

Total hip replacements in the National Health Service: is need being met?

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


The extent to which the need for total hip replacement during the early 1980s was being met by the NHS was assessed by examining patterns of utilization during the period 1978 to 1985 in and by residents of North West Thames region. During this period the number of operations performed on residents in NHS hospitals increased by 38 per cent. Within the private sector the number of total hip replacements performed on residents increased from 220 in 1981 to 720 in 1986. The amount of interdistrict variation in the rate of surgery declined as orthopaedic services became more widely available. The proportion of patients waiting more than one year declined from 14 to 4 per cent, suggesting an increasing ability for health services to meet need. Overall these findings suggest that despite improvements in provision during the early 1980s, significant unmet need still existed in 1985.

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