Orthopaedic restrictions irrational – statement from Martyn Porter

Following the latest press coverage on rationing please see the statement below from Martyn Porter on doctors.net.uk.

NHS areas that restrict joint replacement surgery are ignoring the evidence of its success, a senior surgeon has warned.

Martyn Porter, Medical Director of the National Joint Registry, says it provides convincing evidence of how operations help patients.

He spoke as the registry spoke of the success of its second year of data quality audit.

He said improved data accuracy meant “better informed surgeons and increased patient safety.”

Mr Porter said: “The data quality audit has given hospitals – now both in the NHS and independent sector – the opportunity to demonstrate the highest possible standards of clinical governance that we are all striving to achieve.”

He added: “Joint replacement surgery offers significant benefits – getting patients back to their chosen lifestyle sooner, free from pain and with improved mobility. As a joint replacement patient myself, I particularly understand the importance of this.

“Financial pressures on the NHS have resulted in some providers recently suggesting a temporary suspension of joint replacement procedures or excluding certain patient groups based on lifestyle factors, such as weight.

“The evidence from the National Joint Registry suggests that this is not rational.

“Joint replacement surgery is not a lifestyle operation, it is primarily an operation to relieve pain, keep people at work and free patients from community care. The taxpayer will not save money by providers denying joint replacements to patients as these are highly effective and cost effective procedures.”