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I issued the following press release on 21.11.2005


Local MP Lynne Jones joined her female Labour colleagues this week in calling on Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt MP, the BMA and NHS Employers, to give a higher priority to fighting osteoporosis, a disease that affects about 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50.

Lynne Jones said: “Hundreds of people in my constituency suffer from osteoporosis and I am pleased to join my fellow female MPs calling for action against this disease. 8 out of 9 people with osteoporosis are women.”

“The Government, BMA and NHS Employers are currently reviewing the way GPs are incentivised to treat diseases, and osteoporosis is one area which is being considered for a greater focus. The record cold winter predicted this year is likely to lead to many elderly people suffering osteoporotic fractures from falls and slips. It is an alarming statistic that 20% of people who suffer a fracture because of osteoporosis will die within one year.”

“More than 2 million bed days are used in the NHS treating people with osteoporosis-related fractures each year, but many could be prevented if the Government agrees to put greater emphasis on encouraging GPs to identify and treat those people who are most at risk of osteoporosis before a fracture happens.”


 “We are arguing for simple, low-cost indicators of the disease to be included in the Government’s Quality Outcome Framework review, so that doctors can intervene early enough to prevent older people suffering avoidable multiple fractures, and reduce the burden of osteoporosis on the NHS.”


“In the letter to Patricia Hewitt, Dr Adrian Jacobs of the NHS Employers negotiating team, and Dr Laurence Buckman of the BMA negotiating team, osteoporosis experts Dr Jonathan Bayly and Penny Bainbridge make the case for better local services for the disease, to prevent the avoidable suffering of so many older people, and reduce the huge burden on the NHS. The negotiators have an opportunity to act now, improving the lives of thousands of women nationwide and preventing many deaths”





Q: What is the personal cost of osteoporosis?

o Half of people suffering an osteoporotic hip fracture can no longer live independently.

o In a survey of older people, 80% said they would rather die than experience the reduced quality of life that follows a serious hip fracture.

o 40% of patients sustaining a clinical vertebral fracture will have constant pain and the majority have difficulties with normal activities of daily living, e.g. dressing.

Q: What impact does it have on the health service?

o Each year fractures in patients aged 60 or older account for more than 2 million hospital bed days in England alone, more than cardiac ischemia, diabetes or heart failure.

o Hip fracture patients occupy one in five orthopaedic beds.

Q: Is osteoporosis becoming more common?

The number of osteoporotic fractures is set to increase dramatically due to an ageing population and today’s lifestyles.

Q: Is intervention for osteoporosis difficult?

o General practice is well-suited to prevent osteoporotic fractures through systematic intervention, but this potential is not being met.

o Treating high risk osteoporotic patients ultimately decreases GP workload by reducing the excess number of consultations (as many as 14 in a year) that can follow the occurrence of a fracture.

Q: Why should osteoporosis be included as soon as possible in the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF)?

o Intervention is effective, affordable, straightforward and well suited to being delivered in the primary care setting.

o Inclusion in the revised QOF will support the achievement of the Government’s policy objectives across the UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Osteoporosis Group (APPOG) supports this view.

Q: What is the GMS contract and Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF)?

o The General Medical Services contract governs the provision of primary care services in the UK and is commonly known as the GMS contract. 

o Under the contract, primary care service provision is measured against a Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). There is a national framework; alternatively Primary Care Trusts can adopt local policies provided they fall within set criteria. Primary Care providers’ services are measured in points, up to a maximum of 1,050. Each point is worth between £77 and £124 in terms of income for individual practices. 

Q: What is the timeframe for the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) negotiation?

o The GMS contract, together with the QOF, is in the course of being reviewed and renegotiated. It was envisaged from the outset that the QOF would have to be reviewed and updated in the light of changes to evidence base, advances in healthcare, changes in legislation or regulation and the need for further clarity, or to include new, evidence-based areas.

o The negotiating parties: NHS Employers, British Medical Association and the four Departments of Health are nearing the end of their discussions.  The remit of the parties is to consider all aspects of the QOF, including whether existing indicators should be amended and whether new indicators should be included.  A revised contract will take effect from April 2006.

Q: Where can I get further information?

o Information is available from the National Osteoporosis Society ( or from Dr Jonathan Bayly (lead author for the QOF submission) or Penny Bainbridge, senior lecturer in osteoporosis at Derby University, both of whom work with the NOS and in this disease area.

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