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Monday 25th June 2018

Referral thresholds for orthopaedic procedures raised

15th September 2010

Research by Pulse magazine has shown that the amount of hip and knee replacement operations performed by the health service have decreased.


The investigation showed that this was due to primary care trusts increasing their referral thresholds.

The research revealed that the average trust paid out for 507 knee replacement procedures in 2009/10, a fall from 514 in 2008/09.

The number of hip replacement operations also fell from 505 in 2008/09 to an average of 502.

The money paid out for knee operations per trust dropped from an average of £3 million in 2008/09 to 2.7 million in 2009/10.

The average spend on hip operations decreased from £2.9 million in 2008/09 to £2.7 million in 2009/10.

Some PCTs informed Pulse that they had rethought their referral policy, with a number of trusts not accepting referrals for obese or morbidly obese patients.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs' committee, informed Pulse that some trusts have "stupid" referral rules, but that they could be kept on when GPs were put in charge of orthopaedic commissions in the coming years.

He added: "Where restrictions are put in merely to save money, I don't think any of us would accept that."


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