Equity of access to joint replacement surgery in New Zealand

Principal Investigator: Dr Helen Harcombe

Co-Investigators: Associate Professor Haxby Abbott (Dept of Surgical Sciences), Associate Professor David Gywnne-Jones (Dept of Surgical Sciences); Associate Professor Sarah Derrett (Dept of Preventive & Social Medicine), Professor Sheila Williams (Dept of Preventive & Social Medicine), Dr Gabrielle Davie (Dept of Preventive & Social Medicine)

Osteoarthritis can have a large impact on people’s quality of life. Joint replacement surgery can be used to treat hip and knee osteoarthritis if conservative treatment is not effective. New Zealand has a prioritisation system to determine who is offered this surgery. People should have equitable access to joint replacement surgery with provision for those who need it most, regardless of where they live, how much they earn, or their ethnicity.

The hypothesis of this study is that access to total hip and knee joint replacement surgery is inequitable between District Health Boards. Equity of access will be examined by factors including age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and rurality. Clinical Prioritisation Assessment Criteria scores will be examined through linkage of national hospital discharge data with the National Booking Reporting System. This research will provide information to help inform policy-makers responsible for equitable access to joint replacement surgery for people with osteoarthritis.


This research is funded by Arthritis New Zealand



Department of Surgical Sciences Orthopaedic Surgery University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine