The Diabetic Eye Screening hub will help combat rising diabetes ni BAME communities and stave off serious complications including blindness.
Latesha Brown, patient engagement lead for the Black Country Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, said: "As part of our excellent community work, we are launching a new hub for diabetic eye screening checks for the local community allowing people from all backgrounds and faiths to undergo these vital diabetes eye health checks. This will be in the Bloxwich area.
"We are seeking new ways to reach our patients within the local community, in non-healthcare settings such as community centres to provide free NHS diabetic eye screening checks to members of the public."
She added: "Allowing patients to come into non-healthcare environments may break down some barriers for people who may for whatever reason not usually engage with Hospitals, GPs, or Optometrists. Diabetes is a rapidly growing problem. Sadly type two diabetes is up to six times more common in people from BAME communities compared to the general population.
"The BAME community are at far greater risk of developing serious health complications associated with their diabetes.
"One such complication is blindness, for which we the diabetic eye screening programme can offer free annual diabetic eye screening checks to detect these changes before a patient becomes symptomatic. Sadly when patients present with sight loss, resulting from diabetic retinopathy, the vision lost maybe irreversible. This is why regular screening to detect any disease early is vital to prevent sight loss from happening."
Those living with diabetes can join a webinar on Friday ahead of World Diabetes Day on Sunday which will be marking 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a treatment that has saved millions of lives around the world.
Taking place from 12pm-2pm, the webinar will include information on how to manage the disease and an overview of the history of diabetes, as well a patient’s first-hand experience of living with type one diabetes.
Ruth Tapparo, primary care clinical lead executive for diabetes for the Black Country, who will be speaking at the event, said: “World Diabetes Day provides us with a great opportunity to shine a light on diabetes and spread awareness of how to manage this disease.
"Living with diabetes can be difficult, there are so many factors to consider and it can be stressful knowing what’s best, but you shouldn’t need to put your life on hold. Our webinar will help people understand diabetes and how to manage it."
To book a place on the webinar email BCWB.email@example.com or phone 0121 612 1447.