Patients undergoing surgery on the NHS may spend differing lengths of time in hospital depending on whereabouts they live in the UK, figures suggest.
Research has found that the length of average hospital stays for hip replacement surgery and bowel surgery differs greatly across the country.
For example, the average stay for a hip replacement in Bristol may be expected to last for 4.4 days; however, patients being treated by the West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust experience an average stay of 26 days.
Bowel surgery figures show that patients treated in west Dorset spend 11.6 days in hospital on average, whereas at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust they might expect a stay of 27.9 days.
The figures suggest that many NHS patients are being kept in hospital for longer than necessary and highlight the inconsistency within the service.
Dr Andrew Webb, medical director at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, noted: "What is striking about this information is that neither geographical location, the size of the hospital, the type of trust it is nor the number of patients they operate on seems to affect the length of stay."