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People aged over 50 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde who suffer a fracture are receiving a first class service according to the National Osteoporosis Society.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) has been operating since 1999 and was the first one of its kind in the UK. It was set up with the aim of identifying people who were at risk of multiple fractures and who may be suffering from osteoporosis without knowing it.
Osteoporosis Nurse Specialists run the FLS. All patients in the health board area who have a minor or low trauma fracture are automatically contacted and invited to attend for an assessment by the service. Where appropriate, patients are offered a Dual energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scan to find out if they have underlying osteoporosis. Following the assessment and results of the scan, patients are provided with a management plan which may include drug treatment, lifestyle advice, education and follow-up advice.
Fizz Thompson, Clinical and Operations Director for the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is seen as the pioneer of the Fracture Liaison Service. The National Osteoporosis Society recognise that this is an effective model of preventative care and is looking at ways of improving access to this kind of service UK-wide.”
The Fracture Liaison Service which is offered at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Stobhill, Southern General Hospital, Royal Alexander Hospital and Inverclyde Royal Hospital reviewed approximately 10,000 patients last year.
Mayrine Fraser, Lead Osteoporosis Nurse Specialist, said: “Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease which can have a huge impact on a person’s life and their ability to do everyday tasks.
“It is vital that osteoporosis is diagnosed as early as possible. This means that we can fully support our patients and provide them with the right medications and information so they can get on with their life by reducing their risk of suffering future fractures.
“Before our service started less than 10 per cent of people who suffered a fracture would have been assessed for osteoporosis – now it’s more than 95 per cent.”
Patients attending the FLS receive information about osteoporosis and how they can reduce their future risks of having a fracture. The specialist nurses are also able to refer patients who are at risk of suffering falls onto the Community Falls Service. This service visits patients in their own homes to identify any hazards which may cause a fall and can also organise physiotherapy and arrange the installation of any aids or adaptations to help reduce the risk of a fall.
Sheila Finn (55) from Blairdardie in Glasgow suffered a fracture in five weeks ago and had to undergo an operation at the Western Infirmary. While recovering on the orthopaedic ward an Osteoporosis Specialist Nurse visited Sheila on the ward and asked her to attend the FLS clinic.
Sheila said: “When the nurse told me I might be at risk of osteoporosis I wasn’t shocked or worried. I thought it was better to know than not.
“My mum has the disease and recently broke her hip so I was concerned that the same thing might happen to me in the future. I attended the clinic and was diagnosed as having osteoporosis.
“I obviously wasn’t pleased that I have it but I was pleased to find out that with a change of diet and by taking my medication I can actually improve my bone density and reduce my risk of fractures in the future.
“Now I just have to take one tablet once a week and a daily vitamin D tablet so it's not a lot of drugs needed to maintain or improve my condition. And the change to my diet has just been to up my calcium levels by taking more dairy products - so no drastic changes to my eating habits.”
Professor Alastair McLellan, Consultant Endocrinologist in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, commented: “The FLS provides patient-centred care that delivers the right treatments for the right patients at the right time.
“Our research has also shown that the FLS is cost-effective and cost-saving – with approximate savings to the NHS in the region of £250,000 per 10,000 patients assessed by preventing future fractures.”
National statistics show that 1in 2 women and 1in 5 men over 50 will sustain a fracture as a result of osteoporosis
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]