Hospital Dr News

Life-altering fractures could be avoided if preventative services improved

More than 50,000 life-altering fractures could be avoided if preventative services were made available more widely, claims a report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The Fracture Liaison Service Database: Commissioner’s Report 2019 shows that there are significantly fewer Fracture Liaison Services available for older patients in some parts of England and Wales than others, with an estimated 54,000 life-altering fractures occurring over the next 5 years as a result.

The RCP has written to NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) calling for them to take action to ensure Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) are available in their local areas.

An FLS is an NHS service providing effective preventative care for patients who sustain a ‘fragility fracture’ – a fall from a standing height or less that results in a fracture, such as a hip fracture. FLSs investigate and treat patients to reduce the risk of future fractures.

Providing prevention of fragility fractures services costs around £640,000 over five years but saves the NHS and social care £2.1 million – a net benefit of £1.46 million.

Dr Kassim Javaid, RCP clinical lead for the Fracture Liaison Service Database, said: “Those suffering broken bones are often the most vulnerable in society and it is unacceptable that such variation exists in service accessibility depending on where in the country they live.

“Fracture Liaison Services are proven to reduce risk of experiencing further fractures, reducing the impact on older patients, and saving the NHS millions of pounds. I implore all CCGs to ensure that FLSs are commissioned in their areas so that millions of older people receive the care they deserve.”

Osteoporosis and broken bones have a significant effect on the lives of older people, with 42% of older people saying osteoporosis has made them feel more socially isolated and 30% saying they find that the amount of money they spend relating to their osteoporosis a financial burden.

There are 58 FLSs in England and Wales that submit data to the Fracture Liaison Service Database. Data is available here on each individual FLS, including of the percentage of patients identified and time taken to receive a follow-up appointment.

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