People living with diabetes in East Lancashire are assured it will be ‘business as usual’ when the NHS diabetic eye screening service welcomes a new service provider later this year.
At present, the Lancashire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (LDESP) is provided by EMIS Care as part of a national contract with NHS England.
However from April 1st, responsibility for providing diabetic eye screening across the whole of Lancashire will transfer to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
“We want to assure patients that every effort is being made to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition between EMIS Care and East Lancashire Hospitals on April 1st,” said LDESP Programme Manager, Robert Sutcliffe.
“In reality, we’re planning for business as usual, both before and after April 1st.”
Everyone with diabetes who is 12 years of age or over should be invited to have their eyes screened once a year.
East Lancashire Hospitals brings 10 years’ experience of running an efficient and well-managed eye screening service including a high quality screening process, excellent levels of patient satisfaction and an 87% uptake rate.
Arrangements are at an advanced stage to maintain each of the 31 locations in Blackpool, Preston, Lancaster, Morecambe, Chorley, Blackburn, Burnley and surrounding towns which currently offer diabetic eye screening appointments. The new service provider is also planning to retain existing eye screening staff who have been offered the option to become NHS employees.
Consultant Ophthalmologist and Clinical Lead Mrs Chintan Sanghvi said: “East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and EMIS Care are working together to ensure a clinically Safe, Personal and Effective screening service for patients from the April 1st.
“Diabetic eye screening is an important part of diabetes care and it’s important that everyone with diabetes attends their screening appointments. Not having your eyes screened increases the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it's not treated.”
Maintaining the existing eye screening locations means 90% of patients are less than 5km/15 minutes from a screening site, all of which are easily accessible by public transport, car or foot.
Existing eye screening patients, staff and stakeholders are assured that EMIS Care will continue to provide a high quality service up to and including March 31st.