President, The British Orthopaedic Association
If you are waiting for joint replacement surgery, there is a lot of support available to you on how you can stay as fit and as well as possible during this time.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stress it put onto the NHS, many planned surgeries for arthritic conditions such as hip and knee replacements were put on hold. Over the summer, some elective surgery has restarted at reduced capacity with an intention to increase this as quickly as resources and safety allow. This resumption of work will occur at different rates around the country depending on local rates of COVID-19 and the nature of the hospital facilities available.
This has been a very difficult time for everyone. Patients and NHS staff wanted to be safe while playing their part in society. The return to these scheduled, elective surgeries is much welcomed. With these in place, patients are able to have the vital operations they need to reduce their pain and restore their mobility and livelihoods.
Increased waiting lists
The shut down in elective surgery earlier in the year – due to COVID-19 – has contributed significantly to the growing waiting lists that are affecting all elective surgery. We have heard from many people who are on waiting lists in very difficult situations and many are understandably concerned and frustrated. We know that there are now hundreds of thousands of people on orthopaedic waiting lists across the UK.
We are working with national bodies and charities for musculoskeletal disease to ensure that orthopaedic patients get the care they need as quickly as is possible.
We are doing what we can to support the process of resuming surgery as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. There are regular discussions between surgeons around the country to seek the best ways to safely treat and support our patients. In the meantime, we’re also doing what we can, in collaboration with other partners, to support those people who are waiting for surgery.
Find out more about individually-tailored, therapeutic joint and pain sessions – available on mobile and tablet
Support is available
If you are waiting for surgery there is a lot of support available to you to advise what you can be doing to stay as fit and as well as you can during this time. This will help you get the best outcome from your surgery when the time comes. Here are some of the best examples:
- The Joint School app1 provides information, exercises and tools for people who have had hip or knee replacements postponed. Keeping moving is an important way to stay healthy as you approach your surgery.
- GoodBoost2 provides evidence-based physical therapy sessions for the reduction of pain and improved mobility. Sessions can be as little as 10 minutes long and are personalised based on your preferences and home environment.
- Centre for Perioperative Care3 have some useful FAQs for patients having an operation during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, to help you know what might be different and how to prepare.
- We also encourage you to look after your mental wellbeing. The charity, Mind, has many resources4 on this, including some specific to COVID.
- We also have a dedicated patient area of our website5 with FAQs relating to COVID that we are regularly updating with the latest information to help support and inform you.
Ultimately, we know that everyone who is on the waiting list is there for an important reason and needs their surgery, so we are working with national bodies and charities for musculoskeletal disease to ensure that orthopaedic patients get the care they need as quickly as is possible.
1https://www.jointschool.app/ | 2 https://www.goodboost.org/land/ | 3 https://cpoc.org.uk/sites/cpoc/files/documents/2020-05/CPOC-FAQ.pdf | 4 https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/ | 5 http://www.boa.ac.uk/patients 6