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Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the clinical management of patients affected by falls, fragility fractures and osteoporosis. (279635)

The Department has taken steps to improve the outcomes of patients with fragility fractures with the appointment of a National Clinical Director for Trauma Care, Professor Keith Willett. He will play an important role in the development of clinical policy for trauma care, including the care of older people with fractures.

The Department is also working with stakeholders on a number of initiatives in support of the further development of integrated falls and osteoporosis services including:

working with the Royal College of Physicians and local services to take forward work to improve services for people who fall and are at risk of falling;

additional investment in DXA scanning bringing investment up to £20 million to increase capacity in osteoporosis services, resulting in waits over 13 weeks falling by 90 per cent.; and

working, as part of the wider Prevention Package announced in May 2008, to encourage older people to exercise which helps them to improve bone mass and provide general lifestyle messages, around diet, exercise, reducing smoking and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol, which are helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis.

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has produced recent clinical guidelines on the use of drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures in post-menopausal women.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms his Department has in place for the assessment of standards of care for people (a) at risk of falls, fragility fractures and osteoporosis and (b) with fragility fractures and osteoporosis. (279636)

It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities, working in partnership with local authorities, to commission appropriate standards of care locally for people with, or at risk from, fragility fractures and osteoporosis.

The Quality Care Commission have been given the power to monitor and inspect the provision of local health and social care services, including pathways of care or themes where there are particular concerns about quality.