CCGs should invest in fracture liaison services to get more patients treated for osteoporosis and prevent avoidable hip fractures and hospital admissions, a leading charity has said.
The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) has funded a new fracture liaison service in Portsmouth hospital as part of its national drive to increase provision of the services. The charity says only 44% of CCGs have them, despite evidence showing they significantly reduce the rate of hip fractures.
Fracture liaison services employ specialist nurses who work with hospitals and GPs to identify patients at risk of osteoporosis, particularly after a signal fracture, and refer them for appropriate treatment. The NOS estimates that if every person over 50 who broke a bone was identified and treated by a fracture liaison service then 22,500 hip fractures could be prevented each year.
The charity called on commissioners to set up fracture liaison services, and is also lobbying for falls and bone health assessments following fracture to be included in NHS policy frameworks.
Dr Alun Cooper, GP and Crawley fracture liaison service clinical lead, said GPs need more support to identify and manage patients who are at risk of fractures.
Dr Cooper said: ‘A fracture liaison service with a nurse who sees all the fractures that occur within an area will have huge experience and skills – whereas a GP may only see a new patient every other month so they don’t get the experience. The responsibility needs to lie with a fracture liaison service.’
He added: ‘CCGs need to commission them. Hip fractures account for a huge amount of their budget – so if the CCGs are serious about reducing admissions to hospital they need to be looking at fracture prevention.’