Public Release: 

Prevention of costly hip fractures should be a priority in UK

Hip fractures account for an estimated £1.1 billion in hospital costs annually; costs expected to increase dramatically with aging of the population

International Osteoporosis Foundation

A new study presented today at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases reveals the high cost of first and subsequent hip fractures to the healthcare system in the UK.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit in Southampton estimated UK hospital costs of hip fracture in the two years following the fracture, and compared average hospital costs before and after hip fracture. Their study analyzed data from 33152 hip fracture patients (average age 83 years), 75% of which were women.

The study found that hospital costs after hip fracture were an average of £14,163 in the first year and £16,302 in the first two years following the incident. Having a hip fracture increased hospital costs by £10,964 compared to the year before the fracture. The study reports the main cost drivers in the first year following hip fracture to be experiencing a second hip fracture, hip fracture-related complications and breaking other bones.

The study shows that hip fractures are an enormous cost to the healthcare system, with total annual hospital costs of new hip fractures estimated to be approximately £1.1 billion.

Lead author, Dr. Jose Leal of the Health Economics Research Center, University of Oxford stated, "The impact of hip fractures is very significant. The UK population is ageing and unless action is taken to prioritize fracture prevention, the cost of treating fractures in the senior population will continue to rise dramatically in the future."

He added, "To reduce the costs of fractures we need to identify and invest in cost-effective approaches and incentives aimed at preventing avoidable fractures and improving the quality of life in these elderly populations. Fracture liaison services in hospitals and clinics have been shown to be a way forward as approximately half of the patients who are treated in hospital for hip fracture - the most costly, serious and even life-threatening type of fractures - have had a previous fracture of some kind. That first fracture was a 'warning' that should have triggered testing and treatment."

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Senior Author, Dr M K Javaid, NDORMS, University of Oxford, stated "Given the number of hip fractures will more than double in some countries by in the next 30 years, the results of this study strengthens the case for policy makers to prioritize the bone health of the nation through the universal provision of Fracture Liaison Services."

Reference: Abstract OC36 Impact of hip fracture on hospital care costs: a population based study. J. Leal, A.M Gray, M.K. Javaid, et al. Osteoporosis International, Vol. 26, s 1. 2015

This article presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (NIHR HS&DR) Programme was established to fund a broad range of research. It builds on the strengths and contributions of two NIHR research programmes: the Health Services Research (HSR) programme and the Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) programme, which merged in January 2012. The programme aims to produce rigorous and relevant evidence on the quality, access and organisation of health services, including costs and outcomes. The programme will enhance the strategic focus on research that matters to the NHS. The HS&DR Programme is funded by the NIHR with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hsdr

2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research.

The NIHR plays a key role in the Government's strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website.

About IOF and Capture the Fracture®: The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members, including committees of scientific researchers, leading companies, as well as more than 200 patient, medical and research societies, work together to make bone, joint and muscle health a worldwide heath care priority.

IOF has established the Capture the Fracture® programme to provide recognition and guidance for the implementation of fracture liaison services, a proven way to reduce the care gap and prevent secondary fractures. http://www.capturethefracture.org

About ESCEO: The European Society for Clinical & Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to a close interaction between clinical scientists dealing with rheumatic disorders, pharmaceutical industry developing new compounds in this field, regulators responsible for the registration of such drugs and health policy makers, to integrate the management of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis within the comprehensive perspective of health resources utilization. The objective of ESCEO is to provide practitioners with the latest clinical and economic information, allowing them to organize their daily practice, in an evidence-based medicine perspective, with a cost-conscious perception. http://www.esceo.org

About the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis & Musculoskeletal Diseases: Held jointly by IOF and ESCEO, the Congress is taking place in Milan, Italy from March 26-29, 2015. It is the world's largest annual forum for the presentation of clinical research and new advances in the prevention and management of bone, muscle and joint disorders. The next Congress will be held in Malaga, Spain from April 14-17, 2016. For complete information visit http://www.wco-iof-esceo.org

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