‘Broken promises’ on fracture care leaves thousands suffering, warns Tory peer

Tens of thousands of people have been left suffering needlessly as a result of Government “broken promises” on fracture care, a Conservative peer has told Parliament.

The blue-on-blue criticism saw Lord Black of Brentwood (pictured) demand to know from ministers when warm words will “finally become deeds”.

Challenging the Government at Westminster, the deputy chairman of the Telegraph Group argued investment in fracture liaison services (FLS) would pay for itself in 18 months.

The provision is designed to proactively identify people who have had a fracture, which may have been caused by osteoporosis.

Patients can then be assessed and given appropriate treatment or support, with the aim of treating the underlying condition and preventing future fractures.

However, FLS coverage in England has been branded a “postcode lottery” by the Royal Osteoporosis Society, with a variation in quality and provision.

Responding to question raised by Lord Black, health minister Lord Markham said: The Government recognises the value of quality assured secondary fracture prevention services, including fracture liaison services.

“Over 500,000 fragility fractures occur annually in thew UK an up to 40% of fracture patients will suffer from another.”

He said the Government along with NHS England was “exploring supporting the additional provision of FLS”.

But pressing the minister, Lord Black, who co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Osteoporosis, said: “All we ever seem to get are warm words and then broken promises.”

A number of pledges had been made, including on funding, said Lord Black, but he added: “Yet none of them has been kept.”

He went on: “So to go back to basics can the minister tell me whether he accepts that 90,000 people who need anti-osteoporosis medication are missing out on it because of no access to FLS, that universal coverage of FLS in England could prevent 31,000 hip fractures over five years, that investment in FLS would pay for itself in just 18 months?

“If he does accept those points could he tell us why on earth these promises have not been honoured and the needless suffering of tens of thousands of people brought to an end?

“When will words finally become deeds?”

Lord Markham said: “Firstly, I thank him for his tireless campaigning in this space. I agree there is a very good case to be made. I think many of us will know the advantage of fracture liaison services.

“A lot of studies show that actually you are at least 10% less likely to suffer from another fracture. So it is a vital part of the prevention programme. There is a very strong case behind it.

“He can be rest assured it is something we are really looking to progress.”

Former TUC president Baroness Donaghy said: “Would the Government agree to a temporary transformation fund to pump-prime the fracture liaison services?

“If everyone over 50 had access to a quality fracture liaison service it would prevent 74,000 fractures, which would help people stay in work and help take the pressure off hospital beds.

“Would the minister agree that this would be investing to save?”

Lord Markham said: “I agree. The FLS has shown many cases of prevention. I think there is a good argument in terms of investment and the return on it all. It is something we are working towards.”

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