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Surgeries failing to refer osteoporosis patients

31 August 2007

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Surgeries are effectively prescribing drugs for osteoporosis but few patients are referred on for further treatment, reveals the first national evaluation of primary osteoporosis care.

The report from The Information Centre found that three quarters of older women with osteoporosis and a previous fragility facture receive appropriate drugs.

However, only one in ten older women with a previous fragility fracture were referred for bone density assessment.

Fewer than one in fifty older people who are at a high risk of falling are referred for a falls service or exercise programme.  

The report suggests that practices are failing to refer patients because they are not inputting relevant information into their electronic medical record system.

It adds that the standard of care for older patients with osteoporosis could be improved by incorporating osteoporosis and falls into the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).

The combined social and hospital care costs for patients with osteoporotic fractures total more than £1.8 bn per year in the UK.

The Information Centre