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OBJECTIVE: To determine research priorities for the management of complex fractures, which represent the shared priorities of patients, their families, carers and healthcare professionals. DESIGN/SETTING: A national (UK) research priority setting partnership. PARTICIPANTS: People who have experienced a complex fracture, their carers and relatives, and relevant healthcare professionals and clinical academics involved in treating patients with complex fractures. The scope includes open fractures, fractures to joints broken into multiple pieces, multiple concomitant fractures and fractures involving the pelvis and acetabulum. METHODS: A multiphase priority setting exercise was conducted in partnership with the James Lind Alliance over 21 months (October 2019 to June 2021). A national survey asked respondents to submit their research uncertainties which were then combined into several indicative questions. The existing evidence was searched to ensure that the questions had not already been sufficiently answered. A second national survey asked respondents to prioritise the research questions. A final shortlist of 18 questions was taken to a stakeholder workshop, where a consensus was reached on the top 10 priorities. RESULTS: A total of 532 uncertainties, submitted by 158 respondents (including 33 patients/carers) were received during the initial survey. These were refined into 58 unique indicative questions, of which all 58 were judged to be true uncertainties after review of the existing evidence. 136 people (including 56 patients/carers) responded to the interim prioritisation survey and 18 questions were taken to a final consensus workshop between patients, carers and healthcare professionals. At the final workshop, a consensus was reached for the ranking of the top 10 questions. CONCLUSIONS: The top 10 research priorities for complex fracture include questions regarding rehabilitation, complications, psychological support and return to life-roles. These shared priorities will now be used to guide funders and teams wishing to research complex fractures over the coming decade.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





complex fractures, priority setting, trauma