Following a competitive tender process Bristol Community Health has been selected to deliver Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP) in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) for a further four years, with the option to extend for one more year after this.
This is good news for BNSSG communities. In Bristol alone over 22,000 people are recorded as suffering from diabetes in 2016/17 – that’s more than one in every 20 people registered with a doctor*.
People with diabetes are at risk of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it’s not treated. Bristol Community Health’s Bristol & Weston Diabetic Eye Screening Programme has provided Diabetic Eye Screening across BNSSG since 2005 for anyone with diabetes aged 12 and over. The amount of people accessing this programme has risen considerably since then, from over 27,000 to nearly 50,000, due to an increase in people being diagnosed with diabetes. Over the last 10 years this service has completed over 280,000 screens – last year alone it completed 32,000.
Over the next four years there will be more focus on extending the programme’s reach to populations where we can improve uptake or where screening levels are currently very low, such as homeless and travelling communities.
Bristol Community Health will continue to work closely with the Bristol Eye Hospital, GPs, pharmacies and local diabetes patient groups, as well as staff in its own services, to increase uptake and ensure other local healthcare providers understand what retinopathy is, so they are able to support people with diabetes to understand the importance of screening.
Aileen Fraser, Clinical Director said:
‘Recent research shows that minority ethnic groups and people from deprived areas with Type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of severe diabetic retinopathy. We’re delighted to be able to carry on delivering this important programme of work so we can do more to reach these people.’
‘After a rigorous procurement process, we are delighted to announce Bristol Community Health will continue to deliver diabetic eye screening services for local people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Regular eye screening is really important for people with diabetes as it can harm your eyes before you notice anything is wrong – screening can save your sight. The future service will build on the existing high quality service local people already receive looking at ways to make it as easy as possible for individuals to take up the screening offer and subsequently protect their vision.’ James Bolt, Head of Public Health Commissioning in NHS England.
For more information or to make a referral visit briscomhealth.org.uk/our-services/diabetic-eye-screening/