Workload in trauma and orthopaedic surgery: use of linked statistics to profile a specialty.
Ferguson JA., Goldacre MJ., Bulstrode CJ.
We have used linked hospital morbidity statistics to construct a basic profile of the demographic and epidemiological features of trauma and orthopaedic surgery in a defined population. This paper reports on this profile and illustrates trends in the specialty between 1976-86. During this period episode-based inpatient admission rates rose by about 20%. Multiple admissions per person varied with age but did not increase over time. Thus the increase in admission rates in this specialty represented an increase in numbers of people who received treatment. Average length of stay per episode of inpatient care and the total time spent in hospital per person declined over time. New outpatient attendance rates increased by 19% in the 11-year period. The ratio of follow-up outpatient appointments to new appointments fell from 2.68:1 to 2.24:1; the number of inpatient beds fell by about 13% and bed occupancy remained stable at about 80%. We describe some of the major components of clinical workload in the specialty, with emphasis on conditions for which admission rates changed over time, relating the data to numbers of people treated as well as to episodes of care.