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Diabetic eye screening updates

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme

This blog contains a number of short, but hopefully useful, updates from the national diabetic eye screening programme.

Education update

The level 3 diploma for health screeners was introduced 2 years ago to replace the previous City and Guilds qualification.

It ensures staff working in the NHS diabetic eye screening programme have the right knowledge and skills and helps support career progression and personal development.

As part of the diploma we produced a rules of combination document to outline the different pathways and required units for the different staff groups. This document has been updated and now includes:

  • optometrists who hold the updated (2017 syllabus) professional certificate in medical retina
  • non-clinical grading staff
  • unsupervised grading requirements for trainee staff
  • log book resource for new learners to record the required number of supervised grades

Unsupervised grading requirements for trainee staff

In order to grade unsupervised, trainee staff need to complete the detect retinal disease and classify diabetic retinopathy section of the level 3 diploma which includes:

  • a minimum of 200 satisfactory supervised grades
  • 3 satisfactory Test and Training (TAT) scores

To gain the appropriate grading experience for the grading unit they should be overseen by a senior grader in their learning environment.

Programmes should determine the best methodology to allow this to happen using their existing software. They are responsible for ensuring trainees are not undertaking unsupervised primary grading until they have completed the unit.

We have produced a log book that trainee graders can use to have a record of their 200 supervised grades.

TAT recovery test sets

You may remember that back in August 2016 we blogged about the new traffic light system to measure graders’ ability to identify sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy in the test.

At that time we also produced some recovery test sets for ‘red flagged’ graders who needed help to get back up to a standard where they were able to grade unsupervised.

These extra sets help graders on recovery action plans to demonstrate their standard of grading in a timely manner without having to wait for the standard monthly test.

Full guidance on how to use the recovery test sets has now been published on GOV.UK.

Full guidance on how to access the test sets can found on the TAT website by clicking recovery sets under the information tab on the main screen.

Patrick Rankin, PHE's diabetic eye screening programme manager

Steroid-induced diabetes

The Association of British Clinical Diabetologists says that when a patient is diagnosed with diabetes due to steroid treatment they should be referred to the diabetic eye screening programme and receive routine digital screening.

They should continue to have routine digital screening until the discontinuation of steroid treatment or referral to hospital eye services/digital surveillance.

If the individual shows continued signs of diabetes following discontinuation of steroid treatment they will need ongoing routine digital screening. If there are no signs of diabetes following discontinuation of steroids they do not need screening or ongoing screening.

If screening is to discontinue they should be categorised as 'Not having diabetes/Not diabetic' and removed from the cohort.

This guidance will be added to the appropriate policy document in due course on the diabetic eye screening page.

Multiple logins on TAT

Remember you don’t have to register more than once or have multiple logins if you change programmes or work across programmes. The TAT helpdesk can easily transfer or share your previous accounts if you need them too.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.

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  1. Comment by Tina posted on

    The link to register to receive updates is reporting an error