Fracture Liaison Services: New Zealand raises the bar

As of August 2018, New Zealand has become the first country in the world to provide universal access to FLS.

Since a major investment by New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2016, and considerable local investment from district health boards (DHBs), access to Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) across New Zealand has improved dramatically. This noteworthy achievement reflects the impact of the ‘Live Stronger for Longer’ initiative, a multi-sector, system-wide response to the threat that falls and fractures present to older people. As well as a hip fracture registry, a key focus of the initiative has been the implementation of FLS.

FLS are internationally recognised as the best model of care to ensure we do our best to make the first osteoporotic fracture the last,”

said Christine Gill, executive director of Osteoporosis New Zealand. She added: 

As of August 2018, New Zealand has in fact become the first country in the world to provide universal access to FLS. With FLS teams working hard across the country to ensure every fracture patient receives the care that they need, a significant improvement in the management of osteoporosis after hip fracture should be evident in next year’s ANZHFR report.”

The recently released 2018 Australia & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) has called for hospitals to make osteoporosis plans a priority for patients leaving hospital after a hip fracture. Treatment for osteoporosis is key to reducing minimal trauma factures. However, data from the report showed that currently only 25 per cent of patients in New Zealand who undergo surgery leave hospital on active treatment for osteoporosis and only 24 per cent of hospitals provide individualised written information on prevention of future falls and fractures.

For the first time, the ANZHFR Report provides data on a named hospital basis which provides very valuable management information to clinical teams and hospital administrators to further improve hip fracture care, including the prevention of future falls and fractures. It is expected that future reports will reflect a progressively lower treatment gap as the widespread implementation of FLS benefits increasing numbers of fracture patients. 

IOF CEO Philippe Halbout commended the multi-stakeholder initiative in New Zealand, including efforts by Osteoporosis New Zealand, an IOF member society:

Universal access to FLS in all healthcare systems is the ultimate vision and aim of IOF’s Capture the Fracture® programme to promote the implementation of Fracture Liaison Services worldwide. New Zealand has set the bar high and we hope that other countries will meet the challenge and work towards similar widespread implementation of secondary prevention pathways in their healthcare systems. This shows that when multiple stakeholders all work together, it is indeed possible to make secondary fracture prevention a reality. Congratulations to all!"