A new audit conducted by the Royal College of Physicians has found that NHS hospitals are failing to provide adequate care to elderly patients who have suffered fractures or falls.
The audit found that there was an “unacceptable variation” in the quality of care training, treatment and services provided by NHS hospitals for falls and broken bones caused by slips and trips.
The Royal College of Physicians did accept that modest improvements have been made compared to previous years, but deficiencies in care remain a widespread problem nonetheless.
The audit, which covered hospitals in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, included statistics showing that more than 500,000 UK pensioners every year attend accident and emergency departments in hospitals because of a fall, and a further 200,000 suffer fractures because of osteoporosis. In total, people in England aged 65 or over occupy hospital beds because of falls and fractures for a total of 4 million days a year.
Commenting on the results of the audit, Age UK’s Michelle Mitchell said:
“Falling and breaking a bone can have serious, life changing consequences for older people – one of which is that they are much more likely to suffer falls in the future.
“It is extremely worrying then that in many areas of the country, people who have already broken bones are not receiving the treatment and support to avoid future injury including the lack of referral to comprehensive falls-prevention services.”