Waiting times for surgery

Timely access to joint replacement surgery is crucial for ensuring that people with severe osteoarthritis can enjoy a good quality of life.

For thousands of people living with osteoarthritis, their condition is so severe that joint replacement surgery will be their only option to alleviate pain, improve mobility and the ability to self-manage.

It is important that people with osteoarthritis can access hip and knee replacements in a time period when it can make the most difference.

To help achieve this, the NHS in England established a waiting time target to ensure that Hospitals make it a priority to deliver treatment in a maximum time period of 18 weeks.

The NHS Constitution also includes a right for patients to receive elective surgery (including hip and knee replacements) within 18 weeks.

Over the last year, NHS England has been reviewing waiting time targets and has made a number of proposals that could affect access to joint replacement surgery.

This includes a proposal to test an average waiting time per hospital versus the maximum waiting time.

Versus Arthritis has produced a position statement which sets out our views on the proposals that NHS England is exploring.

We are concerned about a number of aspects of the review and our recommendations include calling on NHS England to retain the right of patients to access joint replacement surgery within a maximum time of 18 weeks.