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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


KAVALIERATOS, T; NORTJE, M  and  DUNN, R N. Hip and knee arthroplasty waiting list -how accurate and fair?. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2017, vol.107, n.4, pp.323-326. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. Resource-intensive procedures require the use of patient waiting lists in an attempt to increase fairness of access to surgery and improve surgical efficiency. Total hip and knee arthroplasty has waiting lists in excess of years. OBJECTIVES. To analyse our tertiary state institution's hip and knee arthroplasty waiting list to assess its accuracy. METHODS. At Groote Schuur Hospital, our hospital-maintained database was compared with the surgeons' personally maintained database. Patients were then telephoned to confirm their contactability, and to discover whether they still wanted the procedure, or if they had already had it. Waiting duration and patient demographics were then calculated. RESULTS. Of the 655 patients on the hospital waiting list, only 454 were contactable. Three hundred and nine patients still wanted the surgery, 93 had already undergone surgery and 52 no longer wanted surgery. The last group was the oldest and had had the longest waiting time. Those still waiting had waited 451 days (minimum - maximum (standard deviation), 90 - 1 593 (228.5)), those that had had surgery 371 days (0 - 1 728 (296)) and those no longer interested 523 days (138 - 1 881 (260.9)). A total of 429 patients were present on the surgeons' list but not on the hospital list. They had had longer waiting times than those on the hospital list. CONCLUSION. The arthroplasty waiting list is inaccurate due to the existence of two concurrent lists and poor data management, particularly of current contact details. The unfairness of a wide range of waiting times was identified, with patients only on the surgeons' personal database disadvantaged. These deficiencies have prompted the introduction of a scoring-based prioritisation system incorporating clinical, radiographic and societal parameters, in an effort to improve fair and appropriate access to this high-cost care.

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