Contrary to adult orthopaedics, the orthopaedic surgical practice in children is not based on good quality evidence. Treatment is often empirical rather than based on good quality research. The conditions treated are often responsible for long term impairment and disability. The results of treatment in children are influenced by growth and development. Therefore, the treatment outcome is often unclear in the short-term, whilst long-term studies are lacking.
working in co-operation with the james lind alliance
The James Lind Alliance (JLA) is a non-profit making initiative, established in 2004. It brings patients, carers and clinicians together in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs). These partnerships identify and prioritise uncertainties, or ‘unanswered questions’, about the effects of treatments that they agree are the most important. The aim of this is to help ensure that those who fund health research are aware of what really matters to both patients and clinicians. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR – www.nihr.ac.uk) funds the infrastructure of the JLA to oversee the processes for priority setting partnerships, based at the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), University of Southampton.
The aim of the PLLS PSP is to identify the unanswered questions about elective (planned) lower limb (hips to toes) surgery in children with orthopaedic problems from both the patient and clinical perspectives and then prioritise those that patients and clinicians agree are the most important. Orthopaedic problems of the lower limbs caused by conditions affecting other parts of the body (e.g. brain or spine) will be included in this PSP.
The objectives of the Paediatric lower limb surgery (PLLS) PSP are to:
- work with patients, carers and clinicians to identify uncertainties about the effects of lower limb orthopaedic surgery in children. The age frame considered is between 0-16 years. Appropriate safeguarding and consent consideration will be given to this age group by the SG.
- to agree by consensus a prioritised list of those uncertainties, for research
- to publicise the results of the PSP and process
- to take the results to research commissioning bodies to be considered for funding.