Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2023
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Warning as 90,000 Brits are missing out on drugs that prevent bone breaks every year | UK | News

As many as 90,000 people every year who suffer from repeated fractures are missing out on life-saving drugs because of the absence of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) in half of NHS Trusts.

And this postcode lottery is leading to a revolving door of fractures in hospitals, as thousands suffer preventable hip and spinal fractures which could have been avoided with therapy.

Now alongside MPs and Peers, the Society is calling on the Chancellor to honour the Government’s pledge to give more money to the FLS.

Fractures caused by osteoporosis are the fourth greatest contributor to premature death and disability in the UK, it points out.

Half of women over 50 will suffer fractures as well as one in five men.

FLS is the world standard for early diagnosis of osteoporosis used in 55 developed countries.

Lord Shinkwin, who has lived with Brittle Bones since birth and who sits on the Conservative benches, said: “As someone with a bone condition myself, I’m calling on the Secretary of State to intervene.

“The Government says it wants value for money for the taxpayer. Great. They should prove it by not making a damaging false economy.

“At a time when some disabled people will be worrying whether welfare reforms mean they’ll lose their benefits, it’s crucial the Government is sensitive to the risk of a negative narrative about disabled people taking hold.”

Earlier this year, government minister Lord Evans said in a Lords debate: “We are proposing to announce, in the forthcoming Autumn Statement, a package of measures to expand the provision of Fracture Liaison Services and improve their current quality.

“NHS England is also setting up a Fracture Liaison Service expert steering group.”

But the promise was retracted the next day despite thousands of people with osteoporosis having watched the debate and celebrated.

In August, minister Maria Caulfield also promised to “explore ways to establish more Fracture Liaison Services and say more later in the year”.

But with no announcement forthcoming, the Sunday Express launched its Better Bones campaign in partnership with the ROS to pressure the Government to honour its promises.

Next year the healthcare system will waste £88m on preventable fractures, including 150,000 hospital bed days.

Over five years, UK-wide better-funded FLS would free up 750,000 hospital bed days and save 8,000 lives.

Every year, 81,000 people of working age suffer fractures due to osteoporosis, with a third quitting their job due to long-term pain and disability.

Craig Jones, chief executive of the ROS, said: “Since the day the Government promised to act on Fracture Liaison Services, another 400 people have died from hip fractures which could have been prevented.

“Even at this late stage, we hope Ministers will reconsider and give the 90,000 people missing life-saving drugs the care they desperately need.”

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