FLS amendment to the Health and Care Bill

Lord Black’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill calling for equal access to FLS

On 20 January 2022, the House of Lords were again debating the Health and Care Bill and Lord Black of Brentwood put forward an amendment to the Bill which would make Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) a core service offered by the NHS in England.

Lord Black’s amendment received cross-party support and was co-signed by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Lord Rennard and Baroness Masham of Ilton. Support from all sides of the political spectrum is crucial and shows that FLS provision is seen as an important issue for future healthcare.

The Health and Care Bill is currently working its way through Parliament and, if passed, will implement significant changes to how healthcare is delivered in England. The Bill gives the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) an opportunity to ensure that osteoporosis and bone health is high on the agenda of decision makers. ROS’s specific aim is to support greater provision of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) and ensure that quality standards are maintained across all services.

Lord Black’s amendment follows publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Osteoporosis and Bone Health’s report, ‘How to End the Postcode Lottery for Access to a Quality Fracture Liaison Service’ (opens PDF). The amendment builds on one of the report’s key findings – that FLS must become a core part of treatment offered by the NHS across the country, and be fully resourced, including training for specialist nurses.

Fragility fractures cost the NHS a huge £4.5 Billion each year, a figure which could be significantly reduced by the early identification, treatment and support that an FLS provides. Yet sadly, a recent Freedom of Information request by ROS revealed that only half of NHS Trusts in England provide an FLS. This compelling financial case for 100% coverage of FLS was highlighted in today’s debate.  

Lords from across the political spectrum spoke powerfully about the need for the Government to legislate in order to provide a clear central mandate that the NHS must provide 100% coverage of FLS across the country and end the current postcode lottery for good.

The Health Minister in the House of Lords, Lord Kamall, responded for the Government saying that they are supportive of FLS but that they do not think it is necessary to legislate on the matter.

Whilst the amendment itself will not become part of the final Bill, today’s debate has been critical in raising awareness in the House of Lords and with Government about the significant under-diagnosis and under-treatment of osteoporosis, and the need to end the postcode lottery for access to quality FLS.

The Royal Osteoporosis Society will continue to campaign for a full and proper commitment to FLS and to build on the momentum gained in the House of Lords following the debate.

You can watch the debate in the House of Lords starting at 12:29:23, read the transcript, or contact Gareth.Lloyd-Johnson@theros.org.uk for further information.