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Falls Cost NHS £2 billion a Year says PHE Expert

July 18, 2014
Public Health

walking frameThe NHS faces a cost of £2 billion a year and the loss of over four million bed days due to falls in the over 65 age bracket, according to Public Health England’s director of health and wellbeing Professor Kevin Fenton.

Writing in the Public Health Matters blog, Professor Fenton said, “At an individual level, falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into long-term care. A first fall can set in motion a downward spiral of fear of falling which, in turn, can lead to more inactivity, loss of strength and a greater risk of further falls.”

At the last census one in six people in England were over 65, with that figure predicted to rise by a further two million by 2021. Studies have identified over 25 separate risk factors associated with falls, including pre-existing medical conditions, the effect of prescribed medication, environmental hazards and lack of physical activity.

A study carried out by Age UK found that regular exercise programmes concentrating on strength and balance produced reductions in fall risk of up to 54%. Further interventions that can be beneficial were highlighted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in their guidance on falls issued in June 2013.    

You can read the Public Health Matters blog here

NICE Guidelines are available here

Age UK research is here

RIAMS users can access relevant guidance in the Public Health module – click here