Cost of osteoporosis
A high price to pay
Treating hip fracture alone costs the UK in excess of £2 billion per year, that amounts to £5 million per day. The authors of the BOA-BGS Blue Book wrote “Looking after hip fracture patients well is a lot cheaper than looking after them badly.” Professional organisations, patient societies and policymakers all agree that a systematic approach to hip fracture prevention is cost-saving. Healthcare providers who choose not to implement hip fracture prevention strategies will spend more than those that do.
Recently commissioned research from Dr. Foster provides an understanding of why osteoporotic fracture costs are high and rising. For women aged 55 years and over:
- Hospital stays have increased from approximately 78,000 in 2004/05 to 88,000 in 2008/09 – an increase of 13%
- Tariff cost has risen from approximately £390 million in 2005/06 to over £430 million in 2008/09
- Total cost of NHS hospital stays alone is in excess of £400 million per year
- Nearly 10% of women admitted to hospital with a fracture die while they are an in-patient, equating to 6,000 deaths per year
- Significant regional variation is evident
Different fractures, different burdens
Treatment patterns and associated costs vary significantly by fracture type:
- Average hospital stay in the UK after a hip fracture is 26 days
- Hip fractures account for more than 20% of orthopaedic bed occupancy in the UK
- On average, the cost to treat a hip fracture is £13,000 in the first year and £7,000 for the subsequent year
- Costs are set to rise – conservative estimates suggest that there will be a 100% increase in the number of hip fractures in women over the next 35 years
- The majority of costs are associated with outpatient care, nursing care and lost working days
- Approximately a third of patients require admission to hospital
- Average length of hospital stay following a vertebral fracture is 15 days in the UK
- Hospital and outpatient costs of each vertebral fracture are estimated to be £1,706
Non-hip, non-vertebral fractures
- Fractures at skeletal sites other than the hip and spine result in surgical admissions
- 30% of upper arm fractures and 18% of wrist fractures result in hospitalisation
- Hospital and outpatient costs for humerus fracture is £1,112 and wrist fracture is £527
The Breaking Point Report provided a snapshot of the current situation for women with osteoporosis in the UK.
Breaking Point described the practical steps that must be taken by healthcare professionals, policy makers and commissioners, as well as the public to prevent avoidable suffering and cost of osteoporotic fractures.
Looking after hip fracture patients well is a lot cheaper than looking after them badly.