New diabetes eye-screening centre to open in the Black Country

A brand new eye-sight saving hub is being opened in Bloxwich.

File photo dated 22/11/06 of a patient undergoing a blood test for diabetes as treatment for diabetic patients is a postcode lottery with a massive variation in quality of care from one region to another, a report revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 23, 2012. In some regions, only 6% of sufferers received the recommended levels of care compared to 69% in the highest-achieving primary care trusts (PCTs), a National Audit Office (NAO) report found. But not a single PCT delivered the nine basic care processes which reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications such as blindness, amputation or kidney disease. The worst offenders were Mid Essex and Swindon PCTs where less than 9% of patients were given the nine basic tests which are recommended by the Department of Health (DH). The report said that the DH is not holding poorly performing PCTs to account. See PA story HEALTH Diabetes. Photo credit should read: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire
File photo dated 22/11/06 of a patient undergoing a blood test for diabetes as treatment for diabetic patients is a postcode lottery with a massive variation in quality of care from one region to another, a report revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 23, 2012. In some regions, only 6% of sufferers received the recommended levels of care compared to 69% in the highest-achieving primary care trusts (PCTs), a National Audit Office (NAO) report found. But not a single PCT delivered the nine basic care processes which reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications such as blindness, amputation or kidney disease. The worst offenders were Mid Essex and Swindon PCTs where less than 9% of patients were given the nine basic tests which are recommended by the Department of Health (DH). The report said that the DH is not holding poorly performing PCTs to account. See PA story HEALTH Diabetes. Photo credit should read: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

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.engagement@nhs.net or phone 0121 612 1447.

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