NSW orthopaedic surgeons have offered to double the number of joint replacement operations they currently perform in public hospitals.

Chairman of the NSW branch of the Australian Orthopaedic Association, Dr David Wood said, “If the NSW government considers that there is a shortage of orthopaedic surgeons, we will double the number of joint replacements being currently performed if funding can be obtained. We believe that other states are in a similar position”.

“An immediate increase in joint replacement work will allow adequate training of our future surgeons. Training is currently restrained in the NSW public hospital system because of budgetary restrictions on the amount of operating theatre time, hours worked and implants as well as support staff and infrastructure that are funded”,

“We firmly believe that there is no shortage of orthopaedic surgeons but a shortage of funding for elective surgery in NSW public hospitals and elsewhere”.

“Our surveys in the past have indicated that our members are operating in public hospitals between 5-6 hours per week and are capable of operating for 10 hours if the public hospitals could find the resources. Orthopaedic surgeons also have a major role in treating trauma injuries which often takes precedence over elective surgery”, Dr Wood said.

“The AOA has increased its training posts in NSW significantly over the past few years and is continuing to accredit posts where adequate resources and funding is provided.”.

Dr John Harrison, National Chairman of the Australian Orthopaedic Association said in Sydney today, “Rural posts in particular, which have inadequate funding, are difficult to accredit where senior surgeons are not available to undertake supervision and training. The difficult situation in rural orthopaedics can be improved with more realistic funding to provide greater viability for senior orthopaedic surgeons and their trainees”.