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Hip Fractures To Increase

Hip Fractures To Increase

Orthopaedic surgeons around the country have every reason to be concerned at the apparent cut in orthopaedic bed numbers in Auckland's new hospital, says the President of the NZ Orthopaedic Association, Professor Geoffrey Horne.

"Orthopaedic surgery is the largest surgical specialty and a large proportion of its patients are elderly," says Professor Horne. "At a time when the population is aging, and the numbers of hip fractures is increasing rapidly, it is quite unacceptable to reduce bed numbers."

Professor Horne predicts that hip fractures in New Zealand will double by 2011 compared with 1990, and that patients will be older and sicker and require increasing resources to manage. "These patients will certainly not be able to be managed on an outpatient or day stay basis," he says.

"The increased workload produced by the the increased numbers of hip fractures and the increased need for joint replacement surgery in the aging population makes it essential for orthopaedic departments around the country to expand to meet this demand," says Professor Horne. "Any reduction in bed numbers will produce unacceptable delays in treatment and a reduced quality of outcome for New Zealanders with orthopaedic diseases."

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