Lockdown’s devastating toll on hip and knee patients is revealed today.
Shocking figures show that some have been left waiting two years for vital operations. And there has been a 21,000 per cent increase in the number waiting at least a year. There are 92,165 orthopaedic patients on hospital lists who have been waiting at least 52 weeks. In January 2020, the number stood at just 436.
The damning figures are further evidence of the damage caused by the lockdowns as thousands either had treatments postponed or delayed seeking medical help. A study covering ten hospital trusts by Edinburgh and Newcastle universities found that 35 per cent of patients awaiting hip replacements and 22 per cent of those needing knee replacements are deemed to have a quality of life ‘worse than death’ on one international score.
Known as the EuroQol five dimensions questionnaire, it uses five criteria to assess patients’ quality of life, including their level of pain, level of mobility, level of ‘self care’ – whether they can wash themselves – ability to do daily tasks such as shopping and level of depression and anxiety. For those who score less than zero, their quality of life is deemed ‘worse than death’.
The researchers, whose findings are published in the Bone and Joint journal, looked at patients on the waiting lists at orthopaedic centres at University College London Hospital, Leicester, Bristol, Newcastle, Oswestry in Shropshire and Wrightington in West Lancashire, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife and Aberdeen hospitals in Scotland.