Diabetic eye screening has continued throughout the pandemic for those at the highest risk. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with service providers to ensure that where services took the decision to reschedule screening appointments during the pandemic, those services are restored as soon as it is safely possible to do so, to minimise any risk to individual patients and with appointments based on clinical need.
It is nice to see you in your place again, Mr Speaker. I thank the Minister for her response, which is, as always, comprehensive. In relation to diabetes, I wish to ask about both screening and weight loss. What funding has been set aside for those who are morbidly obese and need gastric procedures urgently to set them on the path to better health, in line with the Prime Minister’s statement and reaction to the massively increased risk of death from covid-19 for those who are obese? It is important that we address all the issues.
As well as our world-leading obesity strategy, we have today announced a targeted dietary approach to diabetes. From next week, thousands of people will be able to access a rigorous weight-loss programme to help tackle type 2 diabetes. The diet and lifestyle plans have been shown to put diabetes into remission for many people who have been recently diagnosed. This will provide 5,000 more patients with the first stage in an NHS drive to increase access to the NHS diabetes prevention programme and builds on the commitment to get another 200,000 people into the life-changing programme. We know that diabetes increases the risks of other health challenges and coronavirus, so it is vital that we take immediate action to help people.