Osteoporosis awareness-raising events were held for both patients and healthcare professionals in Stornoway this month, by the National Osteoporosis Society.

The events, held in the Caberfeidh Hotel on May 6, were planned to coincide with the launch of National Guidance on the Management of Bone Health and the Prevention of Fragility Fractures (SIGN 142). This document gives health and social care professionals clear advice and guidance on how best to manage the growing problem of osteoporosis in Scotland.

The reality that one in two women and one in five men with osteoporosis will suffer a fragility fracture, and that treatment can reduce this risk by 50 per cent, helped to focus the messages delivered during the day from a wide range of speakers.

The morning was dedicated to patients with approximately 25 attendees. Patients had the opportunity to talk to the charity and professionals alike and had an open forum to ask any questions. In the afternoon, 55 health and social care staff attended and heard talks on the local fracture liaison service origins and structure, a summary of the SIGN guidance, including how to identify and assess patients and treatment options, aspects of diet for bone health and advice on falls prevention.

NHS Western Isles was delighted to provide the audience with an update on the new Osteoporosis and Fragility Fracture Liaison Service, which went live in November 2014 with the opening of the DEXA scanner in the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

Already over 130 patients have benefitted from this local service which removes the need to travel to Dingwall for the scan, which takes about 30 minutes to perform. It is anticipated that approximately 250 people will pass through the service every year.

In addition, the audience heard about the development of a service to ensure that all patients who suffer a fragility fracture and attend the Emergency Department in Western Isles Hospital will be offered an assessment of their ‘Bone Health’ with appropriate advice on falls prevention, lifestyle, and diet, as well as specific recommendations for any medication that may help prevent further falls and fractures.

Dr Dave Rigby, Western Isles GP and Clinical Care Pathways Lead for NHS Western Isles, chaired the event. He commented: “We were delighted to have this opportunity to raise the profile of Bone Health with the National Osteoporosis Society. The new local service will ensure we quickly and accurately assess all those in need of comprehensive Bone Care, and provide the most up to date and effective treatment.”

The event was closed by Anne Simpson, Manager of the National Osteoporosis Society in Scotland. She commented: “The Charity has been delighted to support such a successful educational event for health and social care professionals in the Western Isles. It is clear that there is such great enthusiasm for working together to improve services for people with osteoporosis and already we see that the service is really making a difference.”

There are plans to hold a similar event in the future in the Uists. Details will be made available in due course.

Picture shows Mayrine Fraser from the National Osteoporosis Society in Scotland; Anne Simpson, Manager of the National Osteoporosis Society in Scotland; Fiona McLean, Radiology Manager, NHS Western Isles; Allison Martin, Physiotherapy Team Lead (Inpatient and Community), NHS Western Isles; and Dr Dave Rigby, Western Isles GP and Clinical Care Pathways Lead for NHS Western Isles.