HEALTH MATTERS: World-leading bone health consultant receives top accolade

Dr Stephen Gallacher with the prestigious Linda Edwards award.

By Lucy Ashton

One of the UK’s leading bone health experts has been recognised for his commitment to the treatment and care of people living with osteoporosis in Scotland, the UK and across the world.

Dr Stephen Gallacher was presented with the prestigious Linda Edwards Award at the Royal Osteoporosis Society’s (ROS) digital conference Osteoporosis Online on Tuesday 1 December in front of an audience of hundreds of his peers, researchers, and fellow healthcare professionals.

Dr Stephen Gallacher, Consultant Endocrinologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, developed the first Fracture Liaison Service in 1999 with his then colleague, Professor Alastair McLellan. This was a ground-breaking development which improved the identification and treatment of osteoporosis for anyone over 50 presenting with fractures and became the definitive model for services across Scotland and the UK.

The Fracture Liaison Service means that nurses have access to data on people who break a bone and are also at risk of osteoporosis because of age or lifestyle factors. Identifying those at risk, often after their first fracture, can help to bring them into the system so they can be scanned and treated if appropriate.

The Chief Executive of the Royal Osteoporosis Society, Craig Jones said: “We are delighted to present the Linda Edwards Award 2020 to Dr Stephen Gallacher for his significant contribution to the field of osteoporosis.  Dr Gallacher has advanced the identification and treatment of this life-changing condition, as well as acting as a tireless advocate, changing policy and healthcare services for the better.”

For more than 20 years, Dr Gallacher has continued to pioneer Fracture Liaison Services and champion osteoporosis identification and treatment in Scotland and around the globe, to fellow healthcare professionals.

Dr Stephen Gallacher said: “I am deeply honoured to receive the Linda Edwards Award for 2020. It is rewarding to see how Fracture Liaison Services have grown, and in many centres flourished, across the UK and beyond. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to help support patients with osteoporosis.”

This award recognises Dr Gallacher’s leading role in the development and promotion of Fracture Liaison Services nationally and internationally, his support for the Royal Osteoporosis Society and his role in influencing strategy to improve treatment and outcomes for patients.

Royal Osteoporosis Society Service Lead in Scotland Mayrine Fraser said: “Dr Gallacher was instrumental in setting up the world’s first Fracture Liaison Service right here in Glasgow. His work has revolutionised the care and treatment of osteoporosis and has been instrumental in improving the quality of life for people living with the condition.”

The statistics on osteoporosis show the scale of its impact on the population. One in two women and one in five men will suffer a fracture as a result of osteoporosis in their lifetime, so it is vital that we continue to invest and improve our services to help detect and treat the condition. Currently there are over 300,000 people in Scotland living with the condition. Dr Gallacher added that increasing awareness about the importance of good bone health for the whole population, at every age, is crucial to improving outcomes.


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