Your letters, calls and emails: Osteoporosis indicator is rejected at peril of

The story about the breakdown in talks between the BMA and the government over the GP contract ignores the fact that patient care for older people who are at risk of fracture and osteoporosis will be seriously undermined.

The BMA's proposal for the GP contract included new clinical indicators as part of the quality framework, one of which was for osteoporosis.

This would have represented probably the most significant improvement in patient care for the elderly in recent years. Around 3 million people suffer from or are at risk of osteoporosis in the UK, and around one woman in two and one man in five over 50 will suffer from a fracture.

National and clinical guidance state that patients suffering a fracture should be screened for osteoporosis by a bone density scan, and offered appropriate treatment to prevent further fractures.

Including these new clinical indicators for osteoporosis in the quality framework would have transformed the way fracture care was delivered to patients. Now it appears that they will be ditched.

This will seriously undermine improved care services for older people.

Dr Alun Cooper, chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society's Primary Care Forum and specialist GP in osteoporosis, Crawley, Surrey.

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