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Patients report slightly worse improvement rates after surgery

Patients have reported slightly reduced health outcomes in hip replacements and varicose vein surgery compared to the previous year, but slight increases in knee replacements and groin hernia surgery, new data has shown.

New results on Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS), published today by the NHS Information Centre, show the level of health benefit patients feel from the four common surgical procedures studied varies significantly between NHS providers.

The figures – the first comparative year-on-year data on PROMS to be published – showed a slight change in national scores between 2009/10 and 2010/11, with difference also recorded in the number of providers recorded as positive or negative outliers.

For hip replacements, 86.7% of respondents recorded an improvement in general health after surgery, down slightly from 87.2% the previous year. National scores for satisfaction with varicose vein surgery also dipped slightly from 77.9% to 77.6% in 2010/11.

But scores increased slightly, from 77.6% to 77.9%, for knee replacements, and from 49.3% to 50.5% for groin hernia surgery.

There was a surge in providers recorded as negative outliers for hip replacements, with nine in 2010/11 compared to zero in 2009/10, although there was also a slight increase in positive outliers from three to five.

There was also an increase in negative outliers for knee replacements from three providers to six, and a decrease in positive outliers from two providers to one.

For groin hernia surgery, one provider was a negative outlier in 2010/11, but there were no other outliers – either positive or negative – in either year.

But for varicose vein surgery, there were no positive or negative outliers in 2010/11, compared with no positive and two negative outliers in 2009/10.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: ‘[The] figures represent a significant step in being able to gain a clear understanding of how people personally feel about their health after common procedures like knee and hip replacements and how this has changed over time.

‘Patients and health professionals alike will have great interest in [the] results, which offer an unprecedented two-year insight of not just the nuts and bolts of NHS activity, but the viewpoint of people who have experienced these procedures.'

Jo Webber, deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: 'Clinicians and managers need to use this information to identify where they can make improvements for patients. Where scores are lower for certain treatments, it is essential that those organisations take the chance to scrutinise this feedback and look at how they can improve standards and procedures. Where today's data already shows good performance, medical staff and managers will want to build on this good experience and share it widely for the benefit of other organisations and patients.'

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