Action urged on hip fracture costs
The cost of treating and caring for patients with hip fractures could rise dramatically in the UK unless action is taken, according to a new report.
Based on current trends, the cost to the NHS and local authorities could spiral to more than £6 billion by 2036 while hospital admissions for hip fracture could almost double to 140,000 a year.
The report, commissioned by the Government, sets out steps that need to be taken to improve care for patients who suffer fractures, the vast majority of whom are elderly.
Age UK and the National Osteoporosis Society, which compiled the study, said current best practice guidance is only being implemented in a small number of places.
"This is leaving a majority of older people who suffer falls and fractures at an unnecessary and unacceptable risk of sustaining further injuries and broken bones," the report said.
An audit published last year found "unacceptable variation in the quality of falls and fracture services" in England, with "a major gap between what organisations report and the actual care provided", the study continued.
It said patients often did not receive all the hospital checks and support they needed "in a way which would be intolerable in equally common and costly conditions such as heart disease or stroke".
The report recommends closer working between GPs, hospitals and local authorities and more emphasis on helping prevent falls in the first place.
Care services minister Paul Burstow, who commissioned the study, said: "Action to prevent trips and falls is critical to turning the rising tide of hospital admissions and costs. We also know that the best practice in treating fractures can make a huge difference to a person's recovery both physically and in terms of self confidence."
Claire Severgnini, chief executive of the National Osteoporosis Society, said: "One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone but many of these fractures are preventable. I am pleased that the minister is taking this widespread issue, with its devastating consequences, seriously, and welcome his commitment to work with us to prevent falls and fractures."