A PANEL of ordinary citizens have come up with radical ideas which could dramatically reduce falls among the elderly.

After taking advice from experts, the 13-strong "citizens jury" has recommended sweeping changes in the prevention, detection, treatment and aftercare of falls.

The group is calling for the setting up of special "falls pathway units" at hospitals around the country.

A similar unit at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary has proved an enormous success, preventing falls and saving the NHS about £2.5m a year.

The jury also wants to see the re-introduction of rehabilitation for older patients in all hospitals.

They want regular reviews of old people's homes to check for dangers, and for more information to be made available about services and benefits available to elderly people.

The seven women and six men, from Newcastle, on the jury hope that their report will be taken seriously by the authorities.