AN INNOVATIVE hospital service helping people avoid breaking their bones is celebrating its first anniversary.

Staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Fracture Liaison Service have identified 1,200 patients over the past 12 months and assessed 750 of them so far.

Fragility Fracture Liaison Sister Janine Connor, who heads the service, said the unit’s work was vital and would help people avoid hundreds more fractures over the coming years.

To mark its first anniversary, staff from the service will be in the hospital’s retail concourse between noon and 2pm on Thursday, December 7, encouraging people to talk about their bones.

The unit at Bradford was one of the first in the country to be set up to help identify patients at risk of osteoporosis. The first hospital trust to have one was Glasgow in 2000.

Patients assessed as being vulnerable to osteoporosis can be started on treatment to help strengthen their bones and are given lifestyle and dietary advice. X-rays and scans taken at BRI are also checked for signs of osteoporosis, and any discoveries are passed on so they can be followed up.

The bone disease affects more than 3 million people across the UK, causing 500,000 fractures and costing the NHS £1.1bn every year.

The BRI’s unit is supported by the National Osteoporosis Society with advice and leaflets but funding for it comes from the local clinical commissioning group.

Sister Connor said anyone could Google FRAX to check their own risk levels and then decide if they needed to get medical help but it was important everyone knew their bones and what could help to make them stronger.

“Education and being aware if you are at risk is key to avoiding breaks. Risk factors for osteoporosis include breaking bones easily, taking medications such as steroids and going through an early menopause.

“If people think they are at risk, I’d encourage them to see their GP.”

As well as weight-bearing exercise to build up their bones, people also need Vitamin D and calcium, said Sister Connor.

“Most people will be short of vitamin D so it’s my personal belief that everyone should be taking Vitamin D supplements.

“Weight-bearing exercise is also helpful to build up bones. I’m not saying people should rush out and do marathons, walking is good,” she said.


The National Osteoporosis Society is currently working with health services across the UK to open as many Fracture Liaison Services like the one in Bradford as possible.

Fizz Thompson, clinical director at the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “Broken bones can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, a problem which can be addressed by early identification of osteoporosis.

“Fracture Liaison Services like the successful unit in Bradford are a proven way of addressing this issue.”