Six new advance nurse practitioner posts for fracture liaison services

  • General news
  • Surgical

The National Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) Steering Group has welcomed the funding of six advanced nurse practitioner posts through the HSE’s National Service Plan 2022.

Four of the six new posts will be located in the Dublin area – Mater Misercordiae University Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital, Connolly Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital – and two will be based in the west of the country at Galway and Sligo University Hospitals.

The advanced nurse practitioners will play a critical role in patient care by proactively identifying and managing the care of patients presenting with ‘fragility’ or low-trauma fractures. They will manage these patients through their full journey of assessment, treatment, education and monitoring of osteoporosis and falls risk.

Fragility fractures are often the first sign of osteoporosis and usually occur as a result of a minor fall. They are one of the leading healthcare costs across Europe, with data predicting an exponential rise in fragility fracture numbers across Europe by 2030; in Ireland, the predicted increase is 58%, the highest of all EU countries because of our ageing demographics (Kanis et al 2021).

The FLS Steering Group is part of the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (NCPTOS).

Professor Frances Dockery, Co-Chair of the Fracture Liaison Service Steering Committee, welcomed the posts, stating: "Fracture liaison services provide the best method of identifying, treating and monitoring patients who have just sustained a fragility fracture. These services are proven to improve patient treatment rates for secondary fracture prevention, reduce future fracture numbers, and will substantially reduce the cost burden to the health service."

Mr Aaron Glynn, FLS Co-Chair, added: "These posts are welcomed, however, it is imperative that national implementation with full resourcing occurs in the next two years, which will enable us to definitely address rising fracture numbers, create value for the health service and bring huge benefits to patients who would otherwise go on to sustain repeat fragility fractures."

The FLS database is due to release its first report later this year. This will be the first time that Irish fragility fracture data will be reported which will guide policymakers in ensuring adequate resources are allocated to deliver an effective and efficient national service for this patient group.

Led by Mr David Moore and Mr Paddy Kenny as joint national clinical leads, the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery is a joint RCSI and HSE initiative aimed at improving and standardising the quality of care, improving access for patients, and providing a framework for the HSE, hospital managers, clinicians and the multidisciplinary teams caring for trauma and orthopaedic patients.