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Guidance to reduce risks for hip replacement patients

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has issued new guidelines to NHS and private hospitals to reduce risks for patients undergoing hip replacement surgery after fracturing their joint.

Figures show that patients who undergo hip replacement after a fracture are ten times more likely to die than those who have an elective hip replacement, which is often used as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

This is mainly because fracture patients tend to be older, less healthy and in need of emergency treatment.

The NPSA wants hospitals to report any such deaths and cases of severe harm and to adopt best practice techniques "to improve learning and make this common procedure even safer for patients".

Clare Marx, president of the British Orthopaedic Association, noted that hip replacement surgery is a "very common" procedure and is generally considered to be "safe and effective".

"However, there are rare examples where patients have experienced severe harm or death immediately following these replacement operations," she noted.

"We welcome and support all actions to reduce risks for these often frail and elderly patients and to maximise learning from incident reports and audit."

Patients in UK private hospitals can usually expect to pay between £7,000 and £9,000 for an elective hip replacement, including hospital charges and consultants' fees.

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Guidance to reduce risks for hip replacement patients
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