Outsourcing hip replacement operations to independent treatment centres in the UK to reduce waiting times has resulted in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) doing costly remedial work, according to a new research.

Error rates were 20 times greater than the standard performance in the NHS, the study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery said.

It reviewed 113 hip replacement operations outsourced from the Cardiff Vale NHS Trust to the NHS Treatment Centre between 2004 and 2006 and found three dislocations, one femoral fracture, one pulmonary embolus, one deep infection and two superficial wound infections.

This initiative and the consequent need for correction of the problems created has significantly increased the workload of the unit, the report said.