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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Local MP, Meg Munn finds out shocking cost of falls

Thursday, June 19, 2003


Local MP Meg Munn discovered that 12 of her older constituents could be saved the pain and misery of a broken hip if NHS organisations can reduce the number of people who fall by just 10 percent.

A key target within the National Service Framework for Older People is reducing the number of falls. Primary care trusts (PCTs) have until April 2005 to establish their own integrated falls service to tackle the problem. Within this new service, all fallers must be assessed for their risk of osteoporosis and treated if it is diagnosed.

Every broken hip costs £20,000 a year so preventing just 12 would save nearly quarter of a million pounds annually. If these new falls services identify more than 10 percent of fallers then the savings could be considerable, says the National Osteoporosis Society which hosted a special tea party at the House of Commons.

Here, the MP for Sheffield Heeley heard that in the United Kingdom:

  • 70,000 people break their hip every year
  • up to 20 percent of these will die within a year of breaking their hip (14,000 people annually)
  • of those who survive, 50 percent can no longer live independently and either need help to continue living at home or must move into residential care
  • more than one fifth of orthopaedic hospital beds are filled with people with broken hips at any one time
  • patients who have had one broken bone are 50 to 100 percent more likely to have another
  • one in three women and one in 12 men over the age of 50 will develop osteoporosis

 “The cost of repairing the UK’s 70,000 broken hips is £1.7 billion each year yet the Government still appears content to spend the money mending rather than preventing these fractures,” said Acting NOS Director Jackie Parrington.

 “Increased life expectancy means the number of broken bones in the UK is expected to rise and the World Health Organisation is predicting that osteoporosis will reach epidemic proportions if governments do not take preventative measures.

 “PCTs now have less than two years before these falls services must be in place to start tackling this terrible toll of broken bones and the NOS is concerned that local health services may not meet this deadline.

 “We hope that MPs will share our concern and put their weight behind finding out what is happening in their local area to meet the NSF targets.”


The tea party was held on Tuesday, June 17, in the Terrace Marquee at the House of Commons. Meg Munn is pictured with Oscar the Skeleton, mascot of the NOS.

The National Service Framework for Older People was published in March 2001. Standard Six – there are eight in total – aims to reduce the number of falls that result in serious injury among older people and to ensure effective treatment and rehabilitation for those who have had falls.

Key targets under Standard Six include:

April 2003 – local healthcare providers should have audited their current policies and procedures around falls. Risk management procedures must also be introduced to reduce the risk of older people falling.

April 2004 – health improvement programmes (HIPs) and other relevant plans and strategies within the PCTs should include the development of an integrated falls service

April 2005 – an integrated falls service, drawing together healthcare professionals, social services and voluntary organisations, should be up and running in every PCT. Osteoporosis risk must be assessed in all fallers.

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