This year’s FFN UK meeting was held on Friday 23rd September at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham and the theme for the day was research and education to benefit patients with fragility fracture.
The day was introduced by Matt Costa, outgoing chair of FFN UK, and started with ‘state-of-the-nation’ updates from Antony Johansen (Cardiff) regarding the National Hip Fracture Database, Shvaita Ralhan (Oxford) about the future of orthogeriatrics in the UK, and Andy Gray (Middlesborough) who described the latest plans for fracture liaison services across the country. Xavier Griffin (London) also presented a whistlestop tour of the latest evidence from the new suite of Cochrane reviews about the management of hip fracture.
The UK research scene in fragility fracture care has never been more vibrant. The audience were provided with updates on trials to prevent pressure sores from Jane Nixon (Leeds), improved rehabilitation by Becky Kearney (Bristol), reducing the severity of delirium from Costa (Oxford) and improving surgical outcomes for patients having a hip replacement for their hip fracture by Griffin (London). A relatively new area of research is in the management of bleeding and blood loss after fragility fracture. Mike Gilles (Edinburgh) presented a trial about thresholds for blood transfusion and Iain Moppett (Nottingham) talked about his upcoming trial on the use of iron supplements and EPO. If anyone is interested in receiving more information about these, or any other research projects in this area, please do message Matt Costa
The meeting finished with the UK launch of the Caregivers Web Educational Project, a project initiated by the Global FFN for which the UK is a pilot country. Richard Grant (Patient and Public representative) gave a wonderful and personal overview of his experience as a care-giver for his father who suffered a hip fracture. Followed by Karen Hertz (Manchester) who described the new online support that will be available to carers through the Caregivers’ Web Education Project.
The Global Fragility Fracture Network (FFN) coordinated a Call to Action to meet the challenge of caring for the increasing number of patients suffering fragility fractures. This call has been endorsed by over 100 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 FFN’s is to change policy in each of those countries, with the aim is to improve the multidisciplinary acute management of patients with a fragility fracture, to improve rehabilitation services for these vulnerable patients and to implement effective secondary prevention strategies. You can join the Global FFN for free.
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. 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 and mostly non-existent after the patient leaves hospital, and many hospitals still do not have a Fracture Liaison Service at all. Oh, and what about all of the non-hip fragility fractures?
Our organisation brings together like-minded clinicians, managers and patients to address these problems. It is not a new society. It is not 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 to improve the care of patients with fragility fracture.