We must end osteoporosis by holding Sunak and Starmer to account

Head office

07 Jun 2024

Originally published in the Daily Express on 7 June 2024.

Both main parties are now going into the election promising an early diagnosis for everyone with osteoporosis.

This month was the first time people with the condition heard a Minister at the despatch box say the Government will act on their behalf, after years of indifference from politicians. A silent, stigmatized condition hardly ever mentioned in Parliament, barely ever detected in the NHS.

Yet out of all the NHS’s problems, osteoporosis is one of the most fixable. Stunningly effective drugs exist to prevent bone loss and even rebuild lost bone. All we need to do is stop overlooking the majority of people who need those medications. And finally end the dangerous lie that falls and broken bones are just “part of being old”.

This month, Victoria Atkins made it Government policy to give everyone access to a Fracture Liaison Service (FLS), wherever they live. The chance for an early diagnosis, instead of years of breaking bones from coughs and sneezes, and never knowing why. And within hours her Labour counterpart, Wes Streeting, quickly reassured people by matching the promise.

I want to thank both of them. It’s crucial that this commitment, solemnly made in Parliament, is honoured. The natural next step is to enshrine these promises in the manifestos.

Today we’re calling on the politicians to move faster and save even more lives. Every year we delay, another 1,600 people die following broken hips which could have been prevented. By 2030, people in this country will have suffered another three million bone fractures. The Welsh Government is on the cusp of achieving universal FLS coverage in 18 months, showing how quickly this can be done.

Better Bones campaigners have poured their hearts and souls into this effort. People like Stephen Robinson from Richmond, who stood in agony through 25 long meetings at the party conferences, just to speak to Ministers, despite being tortured by ten spinal fractures. Today those people finally feel seen and heard. And we can’t let them down.

That’s why we and the Sunday Express are going to hold whoever forms the next Government to account on this issue. When words become action, we can finally end the scourge of osteoporosis.

No more broken bones. No more broken lives.

Craig Jones, CEO, Royal Osteoporosis Society

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