The impact of comorbidities on referral to and outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgery

New CLAHRC research looks at how comorbidities – multiple conditions experienced by patients –  influence referrals to, and outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgery.

Taking a 360-degree view of the referral and treatment process our researchers, led by Bélène Podmore, investigated current evidence in this area for patients with multiple conditions undergoing surgery. We examined;

  • the short-term outcomes relating to the safety of the hip or knee replacement surgery
  • long-term outcomes relating to the benefits of undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery.

We found comorbidities predominantly impact the safety of hip and knee replacement surgery but have little impact on its effectiveness.

Bélène also interviewed a variety of health professionals and therapists for their take on referring and selecting patients with comorbidities for joint replacement surgery.  We found some disagreement among professionals – ranging from GPs to surgeons – on roles and responsibilities in the management of these patients.

The two pieces of research are presented in handy new “BITE-sized” summaries with links to full papers and further reading –

How do comorbidities impact on the referral pathway to access joint replacement surgery in the NHS? An interview study with healthcare professionals in the NHS

What is the impact of comorbidities on outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgery? A review of the evidence

Complications following hip or knee surgery are more likely for people with long-term illness, but benefits are still worthwhile

The work of CLAHRC researcher Dr Bélène Podmore has been highlighted as “high quality” by the National Institute for Health Research. Bélène’s work, recently published in BMJ Open investigated how having a long-term condition impacts access to and benefit from hip and knee surgery. The research was promoted by NIHR via their “Signals” service. NIHR Signals summarise the latest important research on health care, public health and social care, along with implications for practice.

Joint replacement benefits and harms for people with other illness

Why was this study needed? In the UK, over 210,000 hip and knee replacements were performed in 2017 at an average age of 68 for hips and 69 for knees. One in six of these people had an illness affecting their day to day life.

Read the paper

Podmore B, Hutchings A, van der Meulen J, et al
Impact of comorbid conditions on outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis
BMJ Open 2018;8:e021784. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021784

 

CLAHRC evidence influences decisions on front-line services

New knowledge generated by our research impacts commissioning and funding decisions on welfare advice

Our work to investigate the impact of locating welfare advisers in GP surgeries is bearing fruit as the new knowledge and evidence we have generated is influencing commissioning decisions for these services across London and beyond.

We know that a significant amount of General Practitioners workload is generated by patients approaching them with non-clinical issues such as debt, housing and immigration.


While these concerns undoubtedly impact health and wellbeing, doctors are not necessarily the best professionals to assist. Haringey Council trialled a scheme to locate welfare advice, and welfare advisers in GP surgeries to deal with these issues. 

We evaluated the impact of this advice (provided by Citizen’s Advice Bureau staff) on both GP workloads and on the health, wellbeing and use of services by the patients affected.

Our evidence has been used to support the following decisions –

Haringey: our evidence was used to support retention of all except one primary care co-located welfare advice service in and to provide an additional more intensive service at a mental health hospital (St Ann’s Hospital);

Camden: although the CCG decided to cease funding for GP outreach two GP practices have used the study findings to support ongoing funding for services at their practices (including an application for Big Lottery funding)

Deryshire; Citizens Advice services in Derbyshire have requested study findings to support a business case for ongoing funding of GP outreach in the region

Sussex: our study has been used as a basis to develop an evaluation framework in Sussex


Read our evidence 



Read more about the study: 

Does locating welfare advice in GP surgeries improve health and reduce strain on the NHS?

Welfare advice in GP surgeries – what is the impact on GP’s workload and patients’ health and wellbeing

GPs are often faced with patients seeking help and advice on non-clinical issues such as debt, unemployment and housing. Though these issues undoubtedly impact patients’ health and wellbeing, health professionals are not always the best qualified people to tackle them.

We investigated the impact of putting welfare advice, and welfare advisers in GP surgeries on

  • the ability of low income groups to secure financial support they are entitled to
  • patients’ anxiety and stress associated with financial related social worries;
  • and, to GP time spent managing non-clinical issues

New CLAHRC BITEs offer a summary of two papers investigating the impact –

  1. A qualitative study to identify the processes by which co-located services can improve outcomes for GP practices

Key Findings

Co-location of welfare services has many benefits to patients including:

  1. Offering a signposting option for staff in contact with patients with ‘non-clinical’ social needs.
  2. Helping to address underlying patient social issues.
  3. Providing an alternative option for patients seeking help for such issues.
  4. Reducing bureaucratic pressures and time demands on practice staff.

Read the BITE

Co-located welfare advice in GP surgeries: part I

  2. A quantitative study, using a controlled comparison, assessing the impact on mental health and service use of co-located welfare advice.

Key Findings – service users receiving welfare advice versus control group

  • Had the advice service not been at the practice, nearly half of the advice group would not have sought help or consulted their GP instead.
  • The majority of advice recipients reported improved circumstances after advice (e.g., stress, income, housing etc.)

Compared to those who did not get advice, after 3 months:

  • Those in the advice group whose circumstances improved experienced a bigger improvement in their well-being.
  • Those in the advice group experienced a bigger reduction in financial strain, reduced credit card and overdraft use.
  • Those in the advice group experienced a bigger reduction in symptoms of common mental disorder, especially among recipients who were female, those who identified as Black and those who reported that their circumstances improved as a result of advice.
  • There was, however no evidence for a reduced frequency of GP consultations.
  • For every £1 of investment by funders, those receiving co-located advice gained £15 in entitlements on average

Read the BITE

Co-located welfare advice in GP surgeries: part II