- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
“Fracture service could help more older people in mid and west Wales stay well and break-free for longer”, says Joyce
Joyce Watson AM hosted a reception at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff on Tuesday (22 November) to mark the 25th Anniversary of the National Osteoporosis Society.
Mrs Watson said a great deal of progress has been made in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of osteoporosis since the charity was established in 1986, but she argued more needed to be done to respond to the significant increase in the number of people with fragile bones in Wales.
She said: “Osteoporosis is very common – about 3 million people in the UK have it. Broken bones can rob people of their mobility, their independence and diminish quality of life. So Fracture Liaison Services (FLS), like the ones run at Bronglais and Glangwili hospitals, are vital for getting an early diagnosis and treatment. Extending the service to other hospitals would help more older people in mid and west Wales stay well and break-free for longer, saving money for the NHS.”
Fracture Liaison Services provide a routine assessment to all men and women aged over 50 who sustain a fragility fracture – any fracture that isn’t caused by a collision on the road or from a fall from above head height.
Addressing the reception, Dr Mike Stone, Chair of the All-Wales Osteoporosis Advisory Group, described how over 6,000 hip fractures occurred in Wales in 2007/08 – a 40% rise since 1998/99. He described how the cost to the NHS and social care – which is now £156million – will continue to soar unless more is done to prevent broken bones. Dr Stone said that FLSs – such as those operating in Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Llandudno – are proven to prevent fractures and save money for the NHS. However, only 43% of Welsh hospitals currently provide an FLS for patients.
Jeanette Owen, the National Osteoporosis Society’s Development Manager for Wales, said local Health Boards are still rejecting business cases for FLSs. She emphasised the National Osteoporosis Society’s keenness to work with Assembly Members to get these services in place for local people, implementing an initiative which has been part of the Welsh Government’s health policy for several years.
Dr Gareth Morgan, the NHS Project Manager for the National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People, praised the work of the charity and its willingness work with the Welsh Government to press for the NSF Falls and Fracture standard to be implemented across the board.
The charity organised the event in recognition of the officials, health professionals and dedicated volunteers who have supported its work in Wales since 1986.
For more information about Osteoporosis and the work of the National Osteoporosis Society, contact Siobhan Hallmark, 01761 473101 [email protected]