Knee and hip op access restricted according to surgeons

Surgeons say patients in some parts of England have spent months waiting in pain because of delayed operations or new restrictions on who qualifies for treatment.

In several areas routine surgery was put on hold for months, while in many others new thresholds for hip and knee replacements have been introduced.

The moves are part of the NHS drive to find £20bn efficiency savings by 2015.

The government said performance should be measured by outcomes not numbers.

Peter Kay, the president of the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA), said they have become increasingly frustrated that hip and knee replacements are being targeted as a way of finding savings.

In England in 2009/10 there were 101,020 hip replacements and 73,378 knee replacements carried out.