QualityWatch: Focus on hip fracture Trends in emergency admissions for fractured neck of femur, 2001 to 2011

October 2013

Paul Smith
Cono Ariti
Martin Bardsley

Key points

  • Looking at 10 years of hospital inpatient activity data, we found that the number of hip fracture admissions increased by 15.5% between 2001/02 and 2012/11. The increase seems to be mainly due to the general ageing of the population.
  • The management of these hip fractures in the NHS has changed over this decade, generally for the better, with reductions in 30-day mortality rates and length of hospital stay, and an increase in the proportion of people undergoing surgery within 48 hours of admission.
  • The data point to changes in patterns of care for older people, with shorter lengths of stay but higher levels of readmission being observed. These are consistent with patterns of acute care found elsewhere and an indication of changes in wider health and social care systems.
  • These data also indicate changes in the population, with a growing community of people surviving hip fracture, with increasing frequency of admission. This group of people will most likely have significant health and social care needs.
  • There is room for improvement in primary and secondary hip fracture prevention services as the population level rate of hip fracture has not decreased. The fact we are not reducing the incidence of hip fractures, coupled with variations in outcomes at a regional level, suggests a reconsideration of prevention strategies is needed.

This QualityWatch report, published in partnership with the Nuffield Trust, explores the quality of care and outcomes of treatment for hip fracture, drawing on 10 years of hospital inpatient activity data.

Hip fracture is one of the most common and serious health problems affecting older people. With an ageing population, providing high quality care for people suffering from a hip fracture is becoming increasingly important.

An appendix detailing the research progamme's methods is also available (see the Learn More section, below)

QualityWatch is a major research programme providing independent scrutiny of how the quality of health and social care is changing over time.

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