The burden of musculo-skeletal disease is massive. In the year 2000 there were an estimated 9 million new fragility fractures worldwide and 50 million people living with the consequences of these injuries.1
Figure 1 Global population aged 60 years or over 2020-2100 (both sexes)
These figures are going to increase (Fig). In the UK there are 70,000 hip fractures each year causing a profound and long lasting effect on quality of life of the survivors and their family, and costing an estimated £2 billion in health and social care costs.2,3
The Global Fragility Fracture Network (FFN) has coordinated a Call to Action to meet these challenges.4 This call has been endorsed by over 80 international organizations and has led to the development of national Fragility Fracture Networks in over 20 countries, representing half the world’s population. The express mission of the national FFNs is to change policy in each of those countries, with the aim of improving the multidisciplinary acute management of patients with a fragility fracture, and rehabilitation services for these vulnerable patients and to implement effective secondary prevention strategies.
But why do we need a UK branch of the FFN?
We already have the NICE guidance for hip fractures, the largest National Hip Fracture Database in the world and, arguably, the best Fracture Liaison network in the world. We also have a Frailty BOAST. And yet none of our hospitals meet all of the best practice criteria for hip fracture all of the time. Rehabilitation in hospital is ‘variable’ at best, mostly non-existent after the patient leaves hospital, and many hospitals still do not have a Fracture Liaison Service at all. Then there is what happens (or does not happen) to all of the non-hip fragility fractures…
FFN UK brings together like-minded clinicians, managers and patients to address these issues. It is not a new society, nor is it seeking to replace any existing organisations or activities. FFN UK is a ‘network’ of activists whose goal is to collate and share best practice across all stakeholders so that we can improve the care of patients with fragility fracture.