People with diabetes in the Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire area will benefit from a new diabetic eye screening programme.

Eye screening is an essential part of diabetes care to check for diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it is not detected early and treated. Everyone aged 12 and over with diabetes is invited to attend once a year.

This new programme will bring together three existing eye screening services. From 1 April 2017 the Swindon Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP) and the South Wiltshire area of the Salisbury & North Hampshire DESP will merge together and run as the Bath & North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon & Wiltshire DESP.

In July 2017, the remaining area of Bath & North East Somerset will merge into the service to complete the programme.

The new, unified diabetic eye screening programme will be offering screening from a mixture of GP surgeries, local health centres and community clinics. The service will also use a standardised booking system making the appointment booking process easy and efficient for patients.

Following a rigorous selection process involving patient representatives, NHS England has appointed EMIS Care to provide the NHS diabetic eye screening programme on their behalf.

From the 1 July 2017 the programme will provide diabetic eye screening services for all people with diabetes living in Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Patients will not experience any disruption to their service and will be communicated with in good time ahead of booking their next appointment.

Daniel Messom, Screening and Immunisation Manager, NHS England South (South Central) said:

“We are pleased to be able to combine three diabetic eye screening programmes into a single service; this will create a larger, more resilient programmes.”

“This move will help us to provide services for the increasing number of people with diabetes whilst ensuring we get value for money and service users receive the same high-quality care across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.”

“We look forward to working alongside EMIS Care and are confident patients will continue to receive excellent care from their diabetic eye screening service.”

Jonathan Hildred, Director of Healthcare, EMIS Care stated:

“We are delighted to be providing such an important service in Bath, North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon. We are also delighted to be welcoming the local staff from the existing programmes to EMIS Care. Their local knowledge and best care practices will help shape the service to ensure all patients receive a high quality of care.”

For more information about the Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme visit: www.BSWdesp.info