This guideline covers assessing and managing non-complex fractures that can be treated in the emergency department or orthopaedic clinic. It aims to improve practice so that people with fractures receive the care that they need without unnecessary tests and treatments.

The guideline should be read alongside the NICE guidelines on major trauma, major trauma: service delivery, spinal injury and fractures (complex).


This guideline addresses variation in practice and includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals and practitioners who provide care for people with fractures
  • People with fractures, their families and carers

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines 

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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