Hip hooray for BGH fracture service

Hip fractures in the Borders are on the decrease in contrast to the rest of the UK, where figures continue to rise.

Across the UK the number of patients sustaining devastating hip fractures is increasing but despite the high percentage of elderly residents in the region there has been a steady reduction in hip fractures in the Borders, from 200 a few years ago to 164 in 2013.

Fractures in men and women aged over 50 are often caused by bones becoming fragile due to osteoporosis and in the past there has been a pattern of patients being admitted with hip fractures who have had wrist or other simple fractures a few years previously. Now, when a patient has their first ‘simple’ fracture, scans are taken so that if necessary treatment can begin which should help prevent hip fractures in the future.

Around 11% of patients suffering a hip fracture die within a month and, of those who were previously living independently at home, 30% lose this independence and require institutional care for the rest of their lives.

Dr Andrew Pearson, osteoporosis lead clinician of NHS Borders’ successful Fraction Liaison and Osteoporosis Service, has been invited to join an international committee dedicated to fracture prevention.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that the hard work and persistence of all those who have contributed to the service has paid off by reducing the number of hip fractures in the Borders for three successive years, at a time when numbers are increasing in many other health board areas.”

The service has proved effective because of the close working relationship with the radiology department (it is operated from within the radiology Department at BGH) GPs, pharmacy, community hospitals and others.