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All patients are not the same: An audit comparing the public and private sectors

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Abstract

Background It is acknowledged that a variety of patient factors are known to influence consultation length as well as outcomes and complication rates following surgery. As little research has been published in this area, our aim was to compare the prevalence of such factors amongst foot and ankle surgical patients treated in the private and public sectors. Methods Information was prospectively collected on 100 consecutive new patients presenting to foot and ankle clinics in private practice, a trauma center and a metropolitan hospital. Data was collected for age, primary pathology, availability of home support, employment status, necessity for interpreter, smoking status, presence of diabetes and ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) status. Results Statistically significant differences were found between the private and public patients for availability of home support, employment status and necessity for an interpreter. When compared with the other two sets of patients, the trauma center had a greater proportion of smokers and diabetics. In addition, a higher ASA grade was observed. Conclusion A statistically significant difference in patient factors was noted between patients treated in the public and private sector and between a trauma center and a metropolitan hospital. We believe that careful consideration of these issues is needed when interpreting clinical outcomes and assessing potential service provision. Study design Cohort study.

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