RCS responds to CCGs' plans to ration hip and knee surgery using Oxford score
27 Jan 2017
Redditch and Bromsgrove, South Worcestershire, and Wyre Forest CCGs are planning to decrease the eligibility threshold for patients requiring hip and knee replacements. The CCGs are using a scoring system, the Oxford score, designed to assess patients’ illness to reduce hip operations by 12 per cent and knee replacements by 19 per cent. They suggest the restriction could lead to 353 fewer surgeries and savings of up to £2.1m a year.
Responding to the CCGs' plans, Mr Stephen Cannon, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“The CCGs’ policy decision to restrict access to NHS care, based on arbitrary pain and disability thresholds, is alarming. It is another example of how the huge financial strains the NHS is currently under are directly affecting patients. It is right to look at alternatives to surgery but this decision should be based on surgical assessment, not financial pressures.
“Although the CCGs claim this will save them £2million a year, this overlooks the longer term impact on patients of delayed treatment, prolonged pain, and potentially higher costs of treatment. For example, patients affected by these changes may require additional pain relief medication, and may still require surgery further down the line, which may be more complex.
“Over the last few years we have heard of more and more examples of policies designed to restrict access to hip and knee operations to only those who are in higher amounts of pain or immobility. We are concerned that this is now happening up and down the country affecting thousands of patients. We fear that this latest policy is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Notes to editors
The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
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