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27 April 2010

New 'one stop' bone service picks up top award

A service which diagnoses patients who have the bone-fragility condition osteoporosis has scooped a prestigious award. 

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ Metabolic Bone Centre will pick up the accolade on Thursday at this year’s British Society for Rheumatology Conference Awards in the category ‘Osteoporosis - pioneering best practice.’

The award recognises the importance of using new diagnostic tests to find out about bone strength. Effective treatments can then be given to reduce the risk of fractures (broken bones) from happening.

The team, based at the Northern General Hospital, won the award after changing the system they use to assess patients.

In this new system patients who are thought to be at risk of osteoporosis undergo a measurement of bone density using a piece of equipment called a DXA scanner. Depending on the result of the bone density scan and other information they mayalso undergo further tests. These include an innovative technique known as a vertebral fracture assessment scan. They may also need to have x-rays or blood tests and all this takes place within a single hospital appointment – making the service more convenient for patients.

Another benefit of the new service is that patients undergo a much more detailed assessment giving more information about their bone health and allowing bone-strengthening treatment to be targeted more effectively.

The service has also means that 95% of patients can receive any treatment they require from their GP, with only 5 per cent needing to return to the hospital for further investigations. In the past, approximately 15% of patients were called back for further tests.

Nicola Peel, Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead at the Metabolic Bone Centre, said winning the award was a great acknowledgement of the excellent team working which has allowed the new service to succeed.

She said: “We are delighted that this service, which has proven very popular with our patients, has been recognised in this way. We believe we have developed a service that improves the quality of care that we offer and helps us identify as many people as possible who will benefit from osteoporosis treatment. We have been supported in this work by our colleagues in primary care and I thank all the staff in the Metabolic Bone Centre who have worked incredibly hard to enable the service to flourish.”


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