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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Parker Bowles joins NHS debate
Camilla Parker Bowles
Mrs Parker Bowles's mother had the condition
Camilla Parker Bowles is to join the debate on how the NHS spends the extra billions promised by the government.

In her first public speech, she will call for the brittle bone disease osteoporosis to be given a higher priority.

Mrs Parker Bowles, whose mother and grandmother both died from the condition, will make the call in a speech at an international conference in Portugal.

The NOS is delighted that our president, Mrs Parker Bowles, is taking centre-stage in Lisbon

Linda Edwards, National Osteoporosis Society
She will be speaking in her capacity as president of the National Osteoporosis Society.

The Prince of Wales's companion will also join 13 other high-profile women in signing a declaration calling for more action by governments all over the world to help patients with the condition.

International meeting

They are meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 11 for an international conference hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan.

Titled the Roundtable of International Women Leaders to Examine Barriers to Reimbursement for Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis, it has been organised to put pressure on policymakers.

Mrs Parker Bowles is expected to talk about her own experiences of the condition and the way it is tackled in the UK.

Linda Edwards, the director of the National Osteoporosis Society, said: "The NOS is delighted that our president, Mrs Parker Bowles, is taking centre-stage in Lisbon to talk about her own family's experience of osteoporosis and why she is so committed to supporting the international osteoporosis cause.

"The disease is now at the level of awareness globally that can no longer be ignored.

"The coming together of this wonderful group of high-profile internationally-known women can only enhance awareness of osteoporosis further and encourage all governments to put money behind services for osteoporosis to improve treatment for patients."

One in three women and one in 12 men over the age of 50 will develop osteoporosis.

The skeleton becomes so weak that the simplest knock or fall can snap a bone, particularly in the wrist, spine and hip.

Family experience

Mrs Parker Bowles's grandmother, Sonia, died aged 88 and mother Rosalind Shand died at 73 from the condition.

She recalled recently the agony of her mother's battle with the disease, saying at a London book launch: "People like me did not understand the pain and misery it causes.

"I want to raise awareness so people like my mother don't suffer."

See also:

26 Mar 02 | Health
Bone risk higher than thought
15 Dec 01 | Health
Osteoporosis cases 'being missed'
24 Aug 99 | Medical notes
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