fastingThe National Osteoporosis Society has launched a new set of resources to support the implementation of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS), which save the NHS money and can save lives by preventing further fractures following a fragility fracture in people over 50.

Currently only 42% of health care organisations in the UK offer any form of FLS, which proactively case-find patients over 50 who have suffered a fragility fracture, and manage and appropriately treat those at risk of further fractures.

The National Osteoporosis Society wants to ensure a Fracture Liaison Service is accessible to all those over 50 who have suffered a fragility fracture in the UK. The new resources will ensure that hospitals and health professionals from a range of backgrounds will be in the strongest position to ensure that patients at risk of future fracture are assessed and treated in a consistent and timely manner. 

The resources are all being launched at Rheumatology 2015 in Manchester between 28th and 30th April. They include:

  • Clinical Standards for Fracture Liaison Services which set out ten criteria that every FLS should meet to replicate evidence-based care, including identification of suitable patients, investigation of their fracture risk and interventions to maximise their bone health.
  • The Standards have been widely welcomed by a range of organisations and are endorsed by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Royal Pharmaceutical Society, British Geriatric Society, British Menopause Society, British Orthopaedic Association, British Society for Rheumatology, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
  • The Fracture Prevention Practitioner online training has been developed by experienced clinicians in fracture prevention: Dr Kassim Javaid, Hon Consultant in Metabolic Bone Disease, University of Oxford; Sr Debbie Stone, Specialist Nurse in Osteoporosis, Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth; and Dr Sally Hope, Clinical assistant in Osteoporosis, Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital, Oxford, and has been accredited by the RCP and the RCGP. The course which is the first of its kind in the UK, offers bespoke, specialist training with certification at a foundation and advanced level and provides four CPD points on successful completion to all health professionals involved in secondary fracture prevention.
  • The Fracture Liaison Service Implementation Toolkit has been developed to make the implementation of an FLS as straightforward as possible, and to aid the commissioning of services to improve the care of people with osteoporosis and fragility fractures. Its development has been supported by NHS England and incorporates an FLS Benefits Calculator, which estimates the benefits in terms of reduced fragility fracture incidence and cost savings that can be realised in a local health economy as a result of implementing an effective Fracture Liaison Service.
Fizz Thompson, Clinical and Operations Director at the National Osteoporosis Society said: “The National Osteoporosis Society has developed these new resources to support the NHS to ensure that every fragility fracture patient in the UK has access to a Fracture Liaison Service, which can save lives and money. Fragility fractures can have a devastating effect on people; not only do they cause long-term pain, disabling changes to body shape, immobility and depression, but they hugely increase the risk of further fractures and may ultimately lead to a debilitating hip fracture. 

"Evidence has shown that by properly assessing and appropriately treating everyone over the age of 50 who has broken a bone, future fracture risk can be reduced by half with potentially 20,000 hip fractures prevented annually across the UK. We have developed this range of resources in conjunction with clinicians, commissioners, the National Clinical Director for Trauma, representatives of NHS England, and professional organisations, to ensure that healthcare professionals are supported to give all fragility fracture patients the best care possible. We need to ensure that a Fracture Liaison Service is accessible to all those over 50 who have suffered a fragility fracture in the UK. Not only can lives be saved but the economic savings will be significant.”

The UK FLS Standards have been endorsed by the British Orthopaedic Association. Tim Wilton, Professional Practice Committee Chair and Vice-President said:
“The British Orthopaedic Association is delighted to be able to support the standards developed in conjunction with the National Osteoporosis Society. This is a very important area of care for a large number of patients each year with significant fractures and disabilities. These standards should help all hospitals to support these patients much more effectively”.