NHS reforms prompt charities' action on falls
Published on 16 October 2012 12:01 AM
The National Osteoporosis Society and Age UK will today launch the Falls and Fractures Declaration, a response to the changes and reforms within the NHS.
Age UK and the National Osteoporosis Society's (NOS) aim is to highlight the major burden falls and fragility fractures are having on health and social care in the UK.
The Falls and Fractures Declation is a five-year commitment to reduce the number of hip fractures and falls-related injuries in older people.
A message to other bodies
The declaration, led by Age UK and NOS, has been put together independently of government and represents not only a serious intent to improve the situation surrounding falls and fractures among older people, but also a call to health professionals, NHS commissioners and the Government to make this a priority.
As Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK says: '1 in 3 people aged over 65 falls every year, often with devastating consequences for their quality of life and at very significant cost to the NHS.
'But falls are not an inevitable part of ageing - many falls can be prevented and there is much that can be done to help people who have fallen not to fall again.'
The economic cost of falls
According to figures from The National Hip Fracture Database National Report 2011, the combined cost of hospitalisation and social care for hip fractures (most of which are due to falls) is £2bn a year or £6m a day.
Meanwhile, falls account for 10-25% of ambulance call-outs for people aged 65+, costing £115 per call-out, according to an NHS Confederation Briefing from April 2012.
The human cost of falls
But this declaration is not merely a way of cutting costs. There is a tragic, human cost to the number of falls and fractures.
Half of those who sustain a hip fracture never regain their former level of function and 1 in 5 dies within three months.
It has been calculated that coordinated national falls strategy could reduce the number of falls between 15% and 30%.
Michelle Mitchell again: 'By launching this Declaration we are aiming for a groundswell of support to reduce significantly the number of falls and fractures.
'Together we can improve people's lives and reduce a heavy financial burden on our hard-pressed health and care services.'