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[Correspondence] Patients’ decisions on joint replacement need data on earnings and welfare benefits

The study by Lee Bayliss and colleagues1 (Feb 13, p 1424) provides useful prognostic evidence of the lifetime risks of joint revision. After hip or knee replacement, the revision rate is 5% for men and women older than 70 years, but as high as 35% for men in their early 50s.1 But the risk of revision needs to be weighed against the potential gains from remaining in work and continued earnings. Research is needed to help patients decide and in theory, this research is possible in England. It requires use of the National Health Service (NHS) resource, NHS Digital, to enable linkage between NHS data and data on benefits and earnings held by the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.