New All-Party Group Launched to Break the Silence on Osteoporosis in Parliament
25 Mar 2021
A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Osteoporosis and Bone Health will launch today, to raise awareness of the condition and the importance of bone health among Parliamentarians and NHS leaders.
The Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS), the charity delivering the Secretariat for the APPG, has highlighted the under-diagnosis, under-treatment and low public awareness which has characterised the so-called ‘silent disease’. Half of women, and one in five men, over the age of 50 are affected by osteoporosis, but the condition can also affect much younger people as well as those with anorexia nervosa, athletes or it can also be associated with pregnancy.
Between 2015 and 2020, osteoporosis was raised in the UK Parliament only 31 times, showing the importance of a new cross-party group to lead the debate.
Craig Jones, Chief Executive at the ROS said,
“Bone health is important for people of all ages and there are 3.5 million people living with osteoporosis in the UK today. Causing over half a million broken bones every year, osteoporosis has a devastating personal, societal and financial impact, with many thousands of people suffering alone and in silence.
“This APPG is a huge step forward in breaking the silence and unlocking the seismic opportunities for prevention and early intervention. We shouldn’t be satisfied that so many people are missing out on the early diagnosis, treatment and support they deserve. If we get this right, we could save the NHS up to £4.5bn and spare millions of people the pain and disability caused by fractures.”
At a recent discussion in the House of Lords, supported by the ROS, Peers raised the issue of Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) coverage across the UK - only 61% of people in England have access to a FLS compared with 100% in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Up-scaling coverage could prevent an estimated 5,686 fragility fractures every year, saving the NHS £1.2 million a year.
As its first act, the APPG will discuss launching an Inquiry into the postcode lottery for access to a quality FLS. If agreed, the Inquiry will collect evidence and hear from witnesses over the spring and summer, with a report planned for launch by Christmas.
Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South, the MP that convened the group said,
“The sheer scale of undiagnosed osteoporosis and the lack of awareness of this condition means our All-Party Parliamentary Group can really make a difference in campaigning for earlier diagnosis and better treatment. I am looking forward to working together with the ROS to end the postcode lottery that currently exists.”
So far, 22 MPs or Lords have said that they will become a member of the APPG and a further nine have asked to be kept up to date with outcomes of the group’s work.
The ROS will be launching its manifesto for a future without osteoporosis in April 2021.
Find out more about our campaigning.