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Diabetes: Sight Impaired

Volume 464: debated on Friday 19 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of diabetes patients in (a) Hertfordshire and (b) England went blind in the last year for which figures are available; what trends he expects in these numbers in the future; and if he will make a statement. (157517)

The information is not available in the format requested. However, according to the statistical publication, “Registered Blind and Partially Sighted People Year ending 31 March 2006”, during the year ending March 2006, there were around 11,000 new registrations to the register of blind people, a fall of 17 per cent. compared to 2003. Some councils have reported that new computer systems and data cleansing has reduced the number of new registrations.

In Hertfordshire, during the year ending March 2006, 185 were added to the register of blind people.

Registration of blindness is voluntary. However, it is a pre-condition for the receipt of certain financial benefits. It is this factor which gives greater credibility to the ‘Register of the Blind’ than to the ‘Register of the Partially Sighted’ and to other disability registration records maintained by councils, where the voluntary principle also applies.