HC Deb 25 June 1998 vol 314 cc584-5W
Mr. Maclean

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives the Government will take to promote National Osteoporosis Week on 22 to 28 June. [47222]

Ms Jowell

I have today announced, at the sixth Bath conference on osteoporosis and bone mineral measurement, a detailed and comprehensive strategy to prevent and tackle osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a complex and widespread problem and we need to concentrate our efforts on specific high risk groups. We also intend to encourage people to think creatively about how everyone can plan a part in preventing fractures, preventing the accidents that lead to fractures, and preventing osteoporosis in the first place. The initiatives we have taken will ensure that clinicians, managers and primary care teams have access to the information that they need on the treatment and management of osteoporosis; and individuals will be able to find out what steps they can take to reduce their chances of getting osteoporosis.

The specific elements of the strategy are: new clinical guidelines on the management and treatment of osteoporosis, produced by the Royal College of Physicians together with the Royal Colleges of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Surgeons; a quick reference guide and laminated guideline card for general practitioners and community nurses, summarising the guidelines' key messages on prevention and treatment, to help primary care teams develop consistent, evidence-based practice for diagnosing and managing osteoporosis. The guide and card have been welcomed by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of General Practitioners; the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy's (COMA) report on nutrition and bone health, which is due to be published next month. This will highlight the importance of Vitamin D in the prevention of osteoporosis; the Health Education Authority is producing a fact sheet, "Nutrition and Bone Health", to coincide with the publication of the COMA report, summing up its recommendations in a user-friendly format; and a local health action sheet has been compiled on preventing accidents caused by osteoporosis. It shows what can be done at national, local and individual level to reduce the number of accidents and is a source of ideas for health authorities to use in planning effective action against osteoporosis in their respective areas. All the information is being brought together in a new Internet site so that it is accessible to National Health Service organisations and professionals. Earlier this week I also announced that the Department is publishing a series of new factsheets, which contain practical advice for older women on how to sustain physical and emotional wellbeing. Individual factsheets have been developed on osteoporosis and accident prevention.

Copies of the documents mentioned will be placed in the Library as they are published.