health, public sector

New staff and equipment to treat bone diseases

LOTHIAN health chiefs are investing in new staff and equipment to help people with the bone disease osteoporosis.

A second hi-tech scanner to detect and treat the disease is being set up at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Local GPs will soon be able to refer patients directly for tests using the high-tech equipment. This will avoid patients having to wait to see a hospital consultant beforehand – and reduce waiting times.

The new scanner is expected to be operational within the next few months.

Brian Cavanagh, chairman of NHS Lothian, said: “As soon as the equipment and specialist support staff are in place, all GPs will for the first time be able to directly refer patients for scanning.”

Early detection can be crucial to the treatment of osteoporosis, which weakens bones by making them porous. This can lead to hip fractures and other bone injuries.

Older women are particularly susceptible to the disease; however it can also affect men.

Professor Stuart Ralston, lead osteoporosis physician in Lothian, said: “Hip fractures, in particular, are an increasing cause of severe disability, even death, and we must do all we can to minimise these. The over-50 population is rising so it is important that we continually review our approaches and ensure best practice.”

Issued by ADRIAN MAHONEY of The PR Store
on behalf of NHS Lothian