Background: Elective hip replacement is a cost-effective means of improving hip function. Previous research has suggested that the supply of hip replacements in the NHS is governed by the inverse care law. We examine whether inequities in supply improved in England and Wales between 2006 and 2016. Methods: We compare levels of need and supply of NHS funded hip replacements to adults aged 50+ years, across quintiles of deprivation in England and Wales between 2006 and 2016. We use data from routine health records and a large longitudinal study and adjust for age and sex using general additive negative-binomial regression. Findings: The number of NHS-funded hip replacements per 100,000 population rose substantially from 272.6 and 266.7 in 2002, to 539.7 and 466.3 in 2018 in England and Wales respectively. Having adjusted for age and sex, people living in the most deprived quintile were 2.36 (95% CI, 1.69 to 3.29) times more likely to need a hip replacement in 2006 than those living in quintile 3, whereas those living in the least deprived quintile were 0.45 (95% CI, 0.39 to 0.69) as likely. Despite this, people living in the most deprived quintile were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.78 to 0.83) times as likely in England and 0.93 (95% CI, 0.84 to 1.04) as likely in Wales to receive an NHS-funded hip replacement in 2006 than those living in quintile 3. We found no evidence that these substantial inequities had reduced between 2006 and 2016. Interpretation: With respect to hip-replacement surgery in England and Wales, policy ambitions to reduce healthcare inequities have not been realised. Funding: This work was supported by Health Data Research UK.
The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 21, October 2022,