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Screening: Diabetes

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance his Department has issued on steps to be taken on the identification of an abnormal result in a test carried out under the national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy; (256776)

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy in reducing the risk of sight loss among people with diabetes.

The English national screening programme for sight threatening retinopathy (NSP) was established to support local delivery of diabetic retinopathy screening. It has published guidance on the steps to be taken on the identification of an abnormal result in a test carried out under the national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy. This guidance is contained in the NSP’s workbook, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

The NSP has also set national quality standards for screening programmes to measure the effectiveness of all screening programmes, also available in the Library. These include standards for the timely referral, assessment and treatment of patients with screen positive results and the reduction of new blindness due to retinopathy. The effectiveness of local screening programmes against these standards is being assessed as part of the external quality assurance process being undertaken by the NSP. In addition, the NSP is developing a project which aims to determine which type of delivery of the programme is most effective in the detection of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy.