Cuts planned to Worcestershire hip and knee operations

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The proposals will save around £2m

Cost-cutting plans to slash the number of people eligible for hip and knee replacements have been criticised by surgeons.

Three Clinical Commissioning Groups in Worcestershire plan to only treat the most severe cases where pain interferes with daily life and ability to sleep.

Bosses said changing the scoring system to cut operations will save £2m a year.

The Royal College of Surgeons said the proposals have “no clinical justification”.

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Redditch and Bromsgrove, South Worcestershire, and Wyre Forest are the CCGs behind the proposals, estimated to lead to around 350 fewer operations a year.

The plans would focus on treating “severe to the upper end of moderate” cases, and people who are obese with a body mass index of 35 or over needing to lose 10% of their weight unless their problems were very severe.

‘Barriers to care’

CCG documents said a “patient’s pain and disability should be sufficiently severe that it interferes with the patient’s daily life and/or ability to sleep”.

Stephen Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said the scoring system used, known as the Oxford scoring system, “should not be used to create barriers to care”.

A spokesperson for NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, on behalf of the three groups, said: “If a patient feels that they require this surgery but do not meet these criteria, there is a clear appeals system.”

Gordon Wainwright, from Malvern, is waiting for a hip operation and said he is concerned how eligibility will be judged.

“If you are filling in the Oxford test, as we all do, if you want to get the op done you’re probably going to not be totally truthful because you want to get your operation done,” he said.


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