Failure to prevent fractures costing all states and territories: Osteoporosis Australia Report
The brittle bones of Australians aged 50 years+ is expected to cost $3.1 billion in 2017 alone, while the total cost over 10 years will climb to $21.9 billion by 2022. This is according to the first State and Territory reports released by Osteoporosis Australia today, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. The reports analyse the cost and burden of poor bone health and related fractures around Australia.
Release of the reports coincides with the launch of the independent SOS Fracture Alliance – Australia’s first national alliance of 30 medical, allied health, patient and consumer organisations focusing on the prevention of osteoporotic fractures.
Osteoporosis Australia Medical Director, Professor Peter Ebeling AO said “A broken bone is usually a sign that we need to take action to prevent more bone loss, as each fracture significantly raises the risk of a further fracture."
“Four-out-of-five Australians treated for an osteoporotic fracture are not tested for osteoporosis, and therefore, are not offered treatment for osteoporosis. There is a significant gap in osteoporosis care, and our hospitals are becoming revolving doors for fracture patients being sent home, and returning with new fractures, rather than being properly assessed and treated for osteoporosis.” Said Professor Ebeling.
Founder and Chair of the SOS Fracture Alliance, Professor Markus Seibel, said Australians are being unnecessarily left to endure the pain of repeated fractures, and should regard the new figures as a serious public health warning. “Two-thirds of most residents aged 50 and above in different states have poor bone health or osteoporosis, and many don’t know it, even when they have obvious risk factors, or already have sustained a fracture,” Prof Seibel said.
“More often than not, people are sent home, after their fracture has been ‘fixed’, and miss out on essential investigation and care which in many cases would prevent further fractures. The SOS Fracture Alliance is seeking to increase recognition nation-wide of first fractures in people with undiagnosed osteoporosis, to make their first break the last. This is why the SOS Fracture Alliance strongly advocates the implementation, across the nation, of routine services that identify, investigate and treat patients with osteoporotic fractures. These secondary fracture prevention services will integrate all sectors of the health system, in particular, primary care and hospital-based services.” Professor Seibel said.
Osteoporosis Australia CEO Greg Lyubomirsky said “action is needed to improve health outcomes for patients and their families.”
Greg said “breaking a bone is an immediate and ongoing medical emergency. It involves time is hospital, rehabilitation and often home care.”
“Our reports released today clearly demonstrate the high cost to the healthcare system of the growing numbers of preventable fractures. We must do better. “ Greg Lyubomirsky said.