Physiotherapy “Postcode Lottery” Uncovered

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After a hip or knee replacement surgery, how many people will choose physiotherapy, or physical therapy? The first study to explore the situation of physical therapy in the UK found that the amount of physical therapy available comes down to a “postcode lottery.”



What is the postcode lottery?


Now, you might be asking yourself, “How is postcode related to lottery and how is postcode lottery related to physical therapy?” Well, the postcode lottery is actually a British phrase, which refers to the situation in which the type of medical treatment you can have, the type of government services you receive, etc. depends on which part of the country you live in.



In other words, people who live in different areas receive different kinds of medical treatment and services. So, how is the situation of physical therapy after hip or knee replacements?


How is the postcode lottery of physical therapy?


The research team collected data from over 37,000 patients in their first year after surgery and studied the amount of physical therapy they received.



It turns out that people who live in London and the north of England are more likely to receive physical therapy after a hip or knee replacement, while those in the South West are the least likely to receive one.


“Generally, we found that physiotherapy provision was greater following a knee replacement compared to a hip. In the first year after the operation, 79% of people who had a knee replacement received at least one physiotherapy session compared to only 53% of those who had a hip replacement,” said lead researcher Dr. Toby Smith.



The inequality of physical therapy is also related to other factors, including gender, age and ethnicity. Specifically, Women, younger people and non-white people tend to receive more physical therapy.


Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the two most common surgical procedures in the world. This inequality of physical therapy after surgery is a very concerning finding for millions of people.



Hopefully, the research will call for the authorities to pay more attention to medical care and services, and thus provide us better quality of life.

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