Eye screening experts from the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will be helping thousands of people with diabetes in West Yorkshire care for their sight from 1 April 2017.
As a result of the award of a contract by NHS England the team from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will now be offering the programme across Leeds, as well as Wakefield and North Kirklees.
The Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP) has been run in Wakefield and North Kirklees by Mid Yorkshire for more than 15 years, with performance – in terms of the number of patients screened – above the regional and national average.
Now the team will be building on this success by delivering a revamped community-based screening programme over the larger geographical area.
When the service launches in April around 83,000 people will be covered by the programme, with this expected to rise to more than 100,000 within a few years.
Eye screening is a key part of diabetes care to check for diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of preventable blindness in the working age group.
Regular screening helps to identify sight threatening disease early - before people are even aware they may have it - which means they can be quickly referred for timely treatment.
Everyone aged 12 and over with diabetes should receive screening once a year to help prevent eye damage and they should contact their GP if they are not already receiving screening.
From April 1 2017 diabetic patients will be offered screening at a variety of locations across the area with a focus on providing care closer to home and offering flexible and convenient appointment times.
Each screening location will be supplied with new state-of-the-art equipment. The team will also be deploying a mobile screening van to target other locations, such as care homes and prisons, as well as areas where access to screening services has been identified as an issue.
Mr Atul Varma, Clinical Lead for the Eye Screening Programme and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this new contract and we will continue to deliver the best and highest quality service to all our patients.
“A key part of our bid was the relocation of the central team to the brand new Eye Centre on the Pinderfields Hospital site in Wakefield which opened in 2015. This will act as a central hub with state of the art facilities overseeing the administration and management of the programme along with a team of Retinal Grading staff.”
Fiona Jorden, Screening and Immunisation Lead at NHS England (West Yorkshire) said: “We’re pleased to have the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust as our provider of diabetic eye screening across Wakefield, North Kirklees and Leeds and with their help we would like to ensure that more people with diabetes can access their annual diabetic eye screening and protect their eyesight.
“The eye screening programme will reach out to people affected by diabetes within Leeds communities and will also actively look to engage people who may not have previously accessed the programme, such as people in care homes and prisons.
“If you’re aged 12 or over and have diabetes, we’d like to encourage you to find out more about your local diabetic eye screening programme.”
To find out more visit: https://www.midyorks.nhs.uk/desp