Long delays for hip surgery

Elderly people with broken hips often face an "unacceptable" wait for surgery, a survey shows.

While 95 per cent of patients with a hip fracture can expect to have an operation within two days, or hours in some hospitals, others are forced to wait far longer, according to an audit by the Royal College of Surgeons.

Some NHS hospitals, including Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington, Northumberland, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, and North Tyneside General Hospital, in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, managed to get 95 per cent or more patients through surgery within 48 hours. Others, including Charing Cross Hospital, London, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, and the Royal Victoria, Belfast, managed only about 55 per cent. Reasons given for delays included waiting for space on operating theatre lists, staff shortages, lack of empty beds and patients being unfit for surgery.

About 76,000 hip fractures are treated in the UK each year – 92 per cent of them in people over 70.