National Joint Registry appoints physio professor to steering group

Physiotherapy professor Karen Barker has joined the steering committee of the National Joint Registry (NJR), which monitors hip, knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder joint replacement surgery.


New NJR steering committee member Karen Barker said AHPs see patient outcomes from a different perspective and it’s important that perspective is represented 

‘I bring 30 years’ experience of working with patients with hip and joint replacements and perhaps a different eye on the acceptability of the variation in outcomes,’ said Professor Barker of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield department of orthopaedics, rheumatology and musculoskeletal sciences.

‘And I probably bring a different perspective on how to use the registry to drive forward improvements in patient care, particularly around who should be receiving a joint replacement in the first place.’

Since 2002, the NJR has collected data on all types of joint replacements. It uses these to monitor the performance of implants and the effectiveness of different types of surgery and to improve clinical standards across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Professor Barker will be part of a steering committee that includes orthopaedic surgeons, implant manufacturers, NHS trust managers and patients. As well as setting the strategic direction of the organisation, the committee aims to ensure patients are aware of the risks and benefits of joint replacement so they can make informed decisions about their treatment.

Commenting on the NJR’s work, Professor Barker said it had played an important role in identifying unacceptable variations in practice. This included identifying implants that resulted in poor outcomes, like metal-on-metal hip replacements.

She wants the organisation to extend its coverage and to record and analyse all data about joint replacements. In addition, she believes that greater publicity of the registry’s data outside the surgical community would improve the quality of patient care.

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