The cost of treating osteoporosis on the NHS will treble over the next 25 years unless steps are taken to improve diagnosis and treatment, experts say.

The NHS spend on fractures could top £6bn by 2036, up from £2bn now.

A report from the National Osteoporosis Society found people are already suffering long delays in being diagnosed and face a “postcode lottery” in accessing care.

The growing number of older people means the issue could get worse unless action is taken, according to the study’s authors.

Based on current trends, the number of hospital admissions due to fractures will rise more than 50 per cent by 2036 to around 135,000 each year in the UK.

Among men, the figure is predicted to rise from 33,558 at present to 65,510 by 2036. And in women, admissions would jump from 58,778 to 69,390.

The number of bed days attributed to hip fractures could also rise sharply - possibly increasing by 100 per cent in England alone.

The study points to “no consistent clinical guidance for the management of fracture risk across the UK, which has caused a postcode lottery”.

In addition, guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence “are complex, inflexible and unethical”.

Experts say people are left to get worse before they can access good treatments while patients have to prove their osteoporosis has arisen “from one of a range of comparatively rare risk factors before they are given treatment”.

National Osteoporosis Society chief executive Claire Severgnini said: “The last 25 years has seen improvements but there are still too many people with fragile bones who are not receiving basic services and care.

“If someone has risk factors, like a parental history of hip fracture, or if they break a bone following a minor bump or fall, it should prompt a simple investigation and appropriate treatment.

“Service models exist which can save the NHS money by assessing patients and preventing costly broken bones.

“These simple solutions could drastically reduce suffering, save lives and cut costs for the NHS, yet people are being left to fracture again and again. It is astonishing that basic care is still not happening universally.”

A survey of more than 700 people with the condition found 22 per cent waited longer than five years for a diagnosis while a quarter were only identified following multiple fractures.

And despite having suffered a broken bone, 70 per cent said their health professional never discussed osteoporosis.

Eight per cent had to raise the subject before it was discussed.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Next month, to help drive action, the Department is holding a Falls and Fractures Summit with Age UK and the National Osteoporosis Society to address variation in the quality and availability of falls and fracture services locally.

“With an ageing population it’s vital we get services right for people with osteoporosis. Our reforms will help the NHS do this.”