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Call for overhaul of fracture care

19th September 2007

Experts have called for an overhaul of the care of people who suffer fractures.

Old Woman 400

They want to see the introduction of national screening with everyone over 50 in the UK who has a fracture after a minor fall having their bone density tested to see if they have osteoporosis.

The British Orthopaedic Association and the British Geriatrics Society said such a measure would help prevent future fractures and save the NHS money in the process.

Professor David Marsh, of the British Orthopaedic Association, said: ‚ÄúThe vast majority of people are not being assessed and that is not fair on patients or efficient for the health service. We know the drugs which are available can help reduce the risk of future fractures, so we should be using them.‚Ä?

Around 50% of women and 20% of men have fractures after the age of 50, while only a third of patients over 65 have DXA scans that measure bone density.

Hip fractures are the most serious and complex ones to treat, costing the NHS and social services £20,000 a patient on average, and about 75,000 people in the UK suffer them each year.

The BOA and the BGS say if patients were regularly tested for osteoporosis their risk of future fractures could be halved with drug treatments.

The charity Help the Aged, agreed with the call for change, while the government’s older people’s tsar Professor Ian Philp said steps had already been made to improve care with recent extra investment in falls and bone health services.

 

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