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The impact of an ageing population on future increases in hip fracture burden

insights from the Scottish Hip Fracture Audit

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Current levels of hip fracture morbidity contribute greatly to the overall burden on health and social care services. Given the anticipated ageing of the population over the coming decade, there is potential for this burden to increase further, although the exact scale of impact has not been identified in contemporary literature. We therefore set out to predict the future incidence of hip fracture and help inform appropriate service provision to maintain an adequate standard of care.


Historical data from the Scottish Hip Fracture Audit (2017 to 2021) were used to identify monthly incidence rates. Established time series forecasting techniques (Exponential Smoothing and Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average) were then used to predict the annual number of hip fractures from 2022 to 2029, including adjustment for predicted changes in national population demographics. Predicted differences in service-level outcomes (length of stay and discharge destination) were analyzed, including the associated financial cost of any changes.


Between 2017 and 2021, the number of annual hip fractures increased from 6,675 to 7,797 (15%), with a rise in incidence from 313 to 350 per 100,000 (11%) for the at-risk population. By 2029, a combined average projection forecast the annual number of hip fractures at 10,311, with an incidence rate of 463 per 100,000, representing a 32% increase from 2021. Based upon these projections, assuming discharge rates remain constant, the total overall length of hospital stay following hip fracture in Scotland will increase by 60,699 days per annum, incurring an additional cost of at least £25 million per year. Approximately five more acute hip fracture beds may be required per hospital to accommodate this increased activity.


Projection modelling demonstrates that hip fracture burden and incidence will increase substantially by 2029, driven by an ageing population, with substantial implications for health and social care services.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2024;106-B(1):62–68.

Correspondence should be sent to Luke Farrow. E-mail:

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