End ‘postcode lottery’ denying patients osteoporosis care, says Matt Hancock

Former health secretary Matt Hancock has demanded answers from the Government on how it will end the “postcode lottery” that prevents people with osteoporosis accessing quality care.

The independent MP for West Suffolk has been an outspoken supporter of the Sunday Express’s Better Bones Campaign which aims to ensure everyone over 50 who suffers fragility fractures is seen by a specialist clinic, screened for osteoporosis and
given treatment.

However, there is currently no mandate to extend the clinics, known as Fracture Liaison Services, across England – unlike in Wales which has set a target of September 2024 to cover the whole population.

The Royal Osteoporosis Society pointed out that treatment in England has “flatlined” since 2021 and lacked the political leadership to improve the system which was failing “90,000 people who are missing out on drugs, despite many of their lives depending on them”.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock backs the Sunday Express Better Bones Campaign

In a written answer to Mr Hancock’s parliamentary question to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, health minister Will Quince said the responsibility of implementing the clinics lay with local health chiefs, who develop plans for meeting the health needs of the population.

He said the department was working with them to introduce and increase the number of clinics in each area.

Mr Quince explained: “This includes a focus on improving provision of and equity of access to high quality, secondary fracture prevention services, such as Fracture Liaison Services, which help to identify those most at risk and offer preventative support.”

To that end it maintains a national database which collects details on fall and fragility fractures.

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Yet ROS chief executive Craig Jones said: “The Secretary of State says there is a national database of Fracture Liaison Services, but it’s data from this source that shows his current measures are failing. There hasn’t been a single percentage point of improvement in the number of osteoporosis patients getting treatment since 2021.

“Local health chiefs tell us that without a national mandate or funding, Fracture Liaison Services are just not at the races.

“With 185 Parliamentarians now behind us, we’re asking Steve Barclay to tell us if he agrees that older people in England deserve the same level of NHS care as their neighbours in Wales.”

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