Fracture care needs urgent overhaul, says GPSI

GP commissioners must improve access to specialist osteoporosis clinics to tackle the growing burden of fractures on the NHS, a GPSI has warned.

Just 24% of NHS trusts have established Fracture Liaison Services, the gold standard in osteoporosis care, according to West Sussex GPSI Dr Alun Cooper. This leaves many patients liable to fracture again.

A new report shows the number and cost of fractures in women over 55 has risen 13% in the past five years. The cost of hip fractures alone is £2bn and rising.

Dr Cooper, who co-authored the report, said GPs could reverse this trend. ‘This is an opportunity for GP commissioning,’ he said. ‘GPs are ideally placed to see those who have just fractured. If a patient has a fracture, they have double the risk of doing so again.’

There are more than 300,000 fragility fractures in the UK each year and hip fractures are the highest in the EU.

A Royal College of Physicians review in 2009 found just 23% of NHS trusts have a written local commissioning strategy for bone health.

The report, ‘Breaking Point’, says reducing the osteoporosis-related care bill could save a substantial part of the NHS’s £20bn efficiency target.

A recent survey found most GPs only assess fracture patients when prompted by orthopaedic surgeons. In turn, surgeons will often discharge hospitalised fracture patients without investigation.

This means many patients are undiagnosed and opportunities to prevent further fractures are missed, the report argues.

Dr Cooper hopes that new QOF indicators will break this vicious cycle. NICE is piloting indicators to hold a register of fractures and co-prescribing of calcium and vitamin D supplements. Preliminary results are due later this year.

He said: ‘The importance of QOF is not just that points win prizes, but in highlighting importance of disease areas.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP on phone in recorded consultation assessment

Consultation skills to help GP trainees pass the RCA

Dr Afsar Rizvi highlights the key skills GP trainees need to master in order to pass...

Wes Streeting

Labour promises same GP 'each appointment' and face-to-face access if patients want it

A Labour government would offer patients the chance to see 'the same doctor each...

Man wearing mask on train

UK faces serious threat from flu and COVID-19 'twindemic' this winter

There are strong indications the UK faces a dangerous 'twindemic' of COVID-19 and...

NHS sign outside a building

PCN contract overhaul defers two-week appointment target until April 2023

NHS England has announced changes to the network contract DES, including deferring...

Coins

NHS sets out priorities for extra GP funding this winter

Integrated care boards could target extra funding for general practice at phone systems,...

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves

Labour promises to double medical school places with tax cut reversal

A Labour government would double medical school places with funding raised from reversing...