Chance to bone up on osteoporosis

Specialist clinicians at a service run by the Suffolk GP Federation are encouraging people with osteoporosis and their family members to take part in an online event later this month.

Nicola Burrows, Specialist Nurse at the West Suffolk Fracture Liaison Service, said it would be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the condition and to ask questions.

The online event will be held on Wednesday 28 April, beginning at 7pm, and will include a presentation by nurses from the Royal Osteoporosis Society’s free helpline.

They will talk about the questions they are most frequently asked, after which there will be an opportunity for anyone taking part in the online meeting to ask their own questions.

Mrs Burrows said: “The West Suffolk Fracture Liaison Service usually organises two community events in Bury St Edmunds in May and October every year, but these have had to stop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 28 April online meeting is for anyone who has osteoporosis, including people who have recently been diagnosed, and also their
family members.

“I expect it to last about an hour and, if successful, we may decide to continue with an online format going forward.”

The online event will be introduced by Jill Mayhew, a retired nurse from Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds, who was diagnosed with osteoporosis 12 years ago at the age of 61. 

In 2017, after a West Suffolk osteoporosis support group was disbanded, she started “Osteoporosis Support (UK Only)” on Facebook ( which now has almost 4,000 members.

The West Suffolk Fracture Liaison Service offers people over the age of 50 who have suffered a low trauma fracture, sometimes called a “fragility fracture”, an assessment of their risk of osteoporosis. 

The service can refer patients for a bone density scan (sometimes called a “DEXA scan”) and offers advice and support should they require bone-strengthening treatment.

It is available to all patients who are registered with a west Suffolk GP practice and takes referrals from West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, which are clinically triaged. 

The West Suffolk Fracture Liaison Service provides a mixture of telephone and home visit appointments to offer a falls and bone health assessment.

* Anyone wishing to take part in the online meeting or wanting more information should email or phone 01761 473112/473113.

Osteoporosis fact file

  • Osteoporosis is the thinning of the honeycomb-like internal structure of bone. It leads to bones becoming more fragile and porous, making fractures more likely even from low trauma
  • Bone is a living structure and constantly renews itself. It reaches a peak when people are aged about 30
  • Osteoporosis affects 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50, meaning more than 3 million people are affected in the UK
  • More than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures every year as a result of osteoporosis.
  • The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are a broken wrist, broken hip and broke spinal bones (vertebrae)
  • Exercise and a balanced diet with a good intake of calcium are important throughout life and maintain our “bone bank”.

Nicola Burrows (left) and Ann Hunt (centre), specialist nurses at the West Suffolk Fracture Liaison Service, and Jill Mayhew (right), a retired nurse who established an osteoporosis support group on Facebook.