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Falls prevention would save NHS £275m

Commissioners could save NHS £1.50 for every £1.00 invested in physiotherapy

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Physiotherapy could prevent nearly 200,000 falls a year and save the NHS £275m, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists told commissioners this morning. It is urging clinical commissioning groups to invest in preventative physiotherapy services, which it says would save the NHS 50% more than they would cost.

The CSP this morning revealed its new online calculator, developed with West & South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit. It uses England’s health data and economic modelling to allow CCGs to find how many people in their own area are at risk of falls, and how many of these could be prevented by better access to physiotherapy-led services. It also gives figures for how much preventive services would cost the NHS – compared with how much the NHS would save from falls avoided.

The CSP said that of the 200,000 falls that could be prevented across the whole of England, 25,000 would have led to a fracture, care home admission or death; it added that a third of people die within a year of a hip fracture. The calculator shows that for every £1.50 that commissioners spend on physiotherapy, the NHS would make savings of £1.50 across the falls pathway. It also shows that without such investment, by 2020 there would be a 19% rise in the annual number of people who need to be admitted to a care home, costing the economy an extra £124.8m a year.

The CSP’s chief executive Professor Karen Middleton said: “Falls are … often avoidable and investing in services can prevent these potentially devastating accidents. Physiotherapists deliver services that develop strength and balance, educate people about risk factors and provide essential information on what to do if they do suffer a fall.”

She added: “This new web tool can transform the availability of that care in England and it is vital that NHS commissioners make full use of it. Too many lives are being ruined by unnecessary falls despite specialist support being available that could prevent them and save huge sums for the NHS at the same time.”

The Society is also targeting older people and their carers, with a new leaflet and poster on how to stay active and prevent falls. It said: “The greatest risk to physical and mental wellbeing is saying goodbye to an active lifestyle.”

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