'There are too many of us to fix.' Patients' views of acceptable waiting times for hip and knee replacement

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2009 Oct;14(4):212-8. doi: 10.1258/jhsrp.2009.008128. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


Objectives: To assess patients' views of maximum acceptable waiting times (MAWT) for hip and knee replacement, associated factors and the accuracy of self-reported waiting times.

Methods: We mailed 1000 questionnaires each to two random samples of patients either waiting for or who had received an arthroplasty within the preceding 3-12 months. We used linear regression to assess the determinants of patient MAWT, and content analysis to assess reasons for MAWT and ideal waiting time.

Results: Of the 1330 responses, 1127 had MAWT data. The sample was 57% women; mean age was 70 +/- 11 years. Median self-reported and actual waiting time was eight months (Spearman correlation = 0.70). Median MAWT was four months and ideal waiting time was two months. The most frequent reasons for MAWT were pain, quality of life and needing time to prepare for surgery. A longer MAWT was associated with younger age, group (waiting), a longer self-reported waiting time, better EQ-5D index, an acceptable waiting time, a perception of fairness and a view that others worse off on the list should go ahead.

Conclusions: Patients' views of acceptable waiting times are important for a fair process of establishing waiting time benchmarks for joint replacement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Registries
  • Saskatchewan
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waiting Lists*