Better Bones campaign makes impact at Political Party Conferences


13 Oct 2023

The Better Bones campaign, a collaborative effort between the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) and the Sunday Express, recently made a significant impact at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester and the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

The campaign, which was launched in July and has been running for 16 weeks in the Sunday Express, has an objective of achieving universal access to high-quality Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) across the UK.

In England alone, universal access to FLS for the eligible population would prevent 74,000 fractures over five years, including 31,000 hip fractures, and save 8,000 lives. Around a tenth of hip fractures could be prevented by universal access to FLS, at just 1.5% of the cost of caring for hip fracture patients

Before the political party conferences, the Better Bones campaign had already gained substantial momentum. We had received the support of 247 parliamentary supporters and backing from a broad coalition of 43 charities and organisations, including the BMA, seven Royal Colleges, Age UK, the British Menopause Society, the Confederation of British Industry, and the Trade Union Congress.

Distinguished by their distinctive bright pink jumpers, the team of staff and volunteers from the Better Bones campaign attended both conferences with a clear goal - to advocate for universal access to FLS among policymakers, politicians, and healthcare experts.

Our team of ROS volunteers at the Conservative Party Conference

Our team of volunteers at the Conservative Party Conference

Across both conferences, our two teams of nine individuals attended just under 70 fringe events, actively participating by asking questions and engaging in discussions at most of them. This intensive participation exemplified the campaign's dedication to bringing the issue of FLS access to the forefront of political discussions.

At the Conservative Party Conference In Manchester, ROS CEO Craig Jones engaged in a constructive dialogue with Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. During this exchange, Craig emphasised not only the significance of the campaign but also the pressing need for universal access to FLS. The Secretary of State's response was promising, as he acknowledged FLS as a “priority”.

Stephen Barclay MP answers a question from Craig Jones at Conservative Party Conference

Stephen Barclay MP answers a question from Craig Jones at Conservative Party Conference

The Better Bones campaign also received commendation from Neil O'Brien MP, a Minister in the Department of Health and Social Care, adding further weight to the campaign's efforts.

Our team of staff and volunteers at Labour Party Conference enjoyed similar success. Shadow Health Spokesperson Baroness Merron praised the campaign as a “very strong” one. While Wes Streeting, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pledged to hold the government accountable for taking action on FLS. This commitment affirmed the campaign's cross-party appeal and its potential to drive substantive change.

Wes Streeting and Andrew Marr at Labour Party Conference

Wes Streeting and Andrew Marr at the Labour Party Conference

Looking ahead, the ROS remains committed to achieving the Better Bones campaign's goals. We will maintain our engagement with politicians from both the Conservative and Labour parties, and build upon the relationships we have fostered at these conferences. Furthermore, we aim to collaborate constructively with representatives from other political parties and engage with the devolved administrations. As the campaign enters its 17th week, its momentum continues to grow and make an impact across the UK.

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