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Call for more nurse-led liaison services to tackle osteoporosis ‘crisis’

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More fracture liaison services are needed at hospitals and clinics across the UK to help deal with the growing “crisis” in osteoporosis, a charity has warned.

Almost three million people in the UK have the disease and there are around 300,000 fragility fractures a year, the National Osteoporosis Society said.

It said this was costing the NHS around £1.9bn every year and urged hospitals to introduce liaison services or improve existing ones to reduce avoidable fractures in the future.

”Broken bones can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, a problem which can be addressed by having top quality fracture liaison services”

Fizz Thompson

Experts highlighted that the cost to the NHS from the disease, which is more common in older people due to poor bone health, was set to increase due to the UK’s ageing population.

Liaison services, usually run by fracture nurses, help to systematically identify people at risk of osteoporosis and start them on a treatment to prevent unnecessary broken bones.

The charity said they were a “proven and cost-effective” model for tackling avoidable fractures.

”The financial impact [from fractures caused by osteoporosis] on our already under-pressure health service will only intensify as our population ages”

Dr Kassim Javaid

The National Osteoporosis Society highlighted the importance of the services at its annual conference in Birmingham today.

Fizz Thompson, the charity’s clinical and operations director, said: “Broken bones can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, a problem which can be addressed by having top quality fracture liaison services in place.

“That is why the National Osteoporosis Society is working in partnership with health professionals across the UK to ensure everyone has access to these life changing services.”

Dr Kassim Javaid, consultant in metabolic medicine at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “The enormous personal cost of the often debilitating fractures caused by osteoporosis and the financial impact on our already under-pressure health service will only intensify as our population ages.

“Fracture liaison services are a proven way of addressing these issues and policy makers and health service managers would do well to heed the clear call at this conference to do more to help set them up.”

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