As part of the NHS response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made changes to the services we provide
What is diabetic retinopathy?
This condition occurs when diabetes affects small blood vessels, damaging the part of the eye called the retina. It can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked. This can affect your sight.
Why should I be screened?
Diabetic eye screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss. As someone with diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision.
Why is screening important?
Eye screening is a key part of your diabetes care. Untreated diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight. Remember, diabetic eye screening is not covered as part of your normal eye examination with an optician. Screening does not look for other eye conditions and you should continue to visit your optician regularly for an eye examination as well. (Public Health England NHS Screening Programmes)
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Who needs Diabetic Eye Screening?
The service invites all people with diabetes from age 12 years to attend for an annual diabetic eye screening test, and for those who need a more advanced examination, we provide a Slit Lamp and Digital Surveillance screening service or referral to an Ophthalmology Department. You may need to be screened more frequently if you are pregnant.
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The diabetic eye screening team
We have a dedicated team which includes a Clinical Lead (specialist doctor) who assures the quality aspects of the programme, Specialist Optometrists who see patients in our specialist pathway and screeners and graders who deliver the service across the two counties. There is also a team of administrators who coordinate all appointments and correspondence and assist patients with enquiries.
We work closely with local GPs and Hospital Eye Service colleagues to ensure timely referral and treatment for those requiring Hospital Eye Care.
Why has the service in Shropshire changed?
In line with national contracts the service went through a procurement exercise. Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) was awarded the contract to deliver the combined Staffordshire and Shropshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme going forward for the next 7 years.
Who commissions the service?
The service will still be commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement – Midlands.
What will be different in Shropshire?
Service users in Shropshire will see no change to the quality of care or what happens during their screening appointment. A screening invitation will continue to be sent and the service will operate in line with national guidance.
There will be some changes to screening clinic locations however screening will continue to take place at a number of community venues across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin with evening and weekend appointments available.
Screening venues have been carefully chosen to take account of high diabetic prevalence and for their accessibility, including parking and public transport links. They have also been assessed as suitable and cost effective for providing the screening service.
Where will my Diabetic Eye Screening take place in the future?
Diabetic Eye Screening will take place at local ‘in house’ screening venues across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. Patients will be offered an appointment at a local clinic but can choose a convenient venue and/or time and day for screening.
Will there be any improvements to services?
Patients will be offered a convenient appointment at a local clinic but also now benefit from access to a new online appointment system where they can choose a convenient venue and/or time and day for screening. They can also opt to receive appointment reminders via text.
The new service extends additional specialist care already provided in Staffordshire to patients in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy and Ocular Coherent Tomography (OCT) will be delivered in community clinics. This delivers care closer to home and means patients need to make fewer hospital visits.
What will happen at my screening appointment?
We will test your vision for any changes (this does not replace your eye sight test). We will insert drops into your eyes to make your pupils large and approximately 20 minutes later we will take photographs of the back of your eyes. Your appointment can take up to an hour. You should not drive until your pupils are back to normal, which can take anything up to 4-6 hours. Bring a pair of dark glasses to protect your eyes from bright light. If you wear spectacles please bring them with you to your appointment.
Will staff be qualified?
All of our staff are either qualified or are studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Health Screening. This is a nationally recognised qualification. Staff members are fully competent to carry out screening and undertake regular training. Images are assessed by a fully qualified and competent team lead by our clinical Lead, Dr Andrew Brown.
Will my appointment be local?
We have clinics in health centres and hospitals all over Staffordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. We will aim to send you an appointment for a local clinic. If the appointment is not suitable, please use our online appointment service or call 0300 303 0887 and our administration team will rebook your appointment for a time and location to suit you. If you require ambulance transport, you should book this in your usual way but please ensure your appointment with us is for a morning clinic.
Will appointments be available evenings and weekends?
Late evening and Saturday morning appointments will be available in all major towns but not in every clinic. Our administration team can help you book.
Can I change my appointment on-line?
You can change your appointment via our on-line booking system if you have been issued with a log-in code in your appointment letter. Type https://drscreening.mpft.nhs.uk/onlinebooking into your browser bar at the top of your screen (do not use google search), then follow the on-line booking instructions.
What happens to the information held about me?
Personal data will be safe. If an individual has previously been screened by the Shropshire DESP the information on their screening record will be securely transferred to MPFT.
Will you review clinic locations in future?
We will be continually assessing uptake and capacity rates to ensure that clinic locations are accessible and meet user.
Will you still provide screening in opticians in Staffordshire?
The Staffordshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme changed the way screening is delivered during 2019. Instead of being delivered by high-street opticians, screening is provided in many dedicated clinics spread across the county which use ‘in house’ screening and grading specialists to better manage your diabetic eye care.
Why is an in house service considered better?
In house staff are specialists in diabetic eye disease, and fully trained to national requirements in order to ensure your care is in safe hands.
In house staff training ensures that there is consistency in every aspect of screening for all people with diabetes across the county, and local and national requirements are monitored on a regular basis.
You will receive one-to-one support when attending screening, and the dedicated screening staff can answer any questions you may have regarding your diabetic eye care.
In house grading allows quick decisions to be made in the case of urgent referrals, and direct referrals can be made where necessary, meaning safer care pathways.
How do I change my appointment if the time or venue is not suitable?
When you receive your appointment you have the opportunity to change this if required to choose the best screening site for you. Provisions to call the service to re-arrange appointments are in place or you can re-book using our on-line booking service. https://drscreening.mpft.nhs.uk/onlinebooking
Do I still need to visit my optician for eye tests?
Please note that you will still need to attend regularly for an eye test with an optician of your own choosing for your general eye health needs and spectacle prescription checks.
How do I book an Ambulance to attend Screening?
If you are arranging Ambulance Service Transport (AST) to attend an examination please ensure you have been offered a morning screening appointment.
AST may not collect you for your return journey for over a 2 hour period so please ensure you have food / refreshments and any required medication with you.
AST contact numbers:
North Staffs: 01782 676666
South Staffs: 0300 777 2222
Shropshire: 03300 535 695