My name is Nichola Goddard and I recently joined Public Health England as a diabetic eye screening (DES) programme commissioner.
In this blog I'd like to tell you about a regional DES networking day I went to and why I would encourage others to attend one in their region if they get the chance.
As a public health commissioner I'm involved in monitoring local programme providers to ensure they are delivering a high quality service for people with diabetes.
The networking day, organised by the midlands and east Quality Assurance (QA) service, was an opportunity to meet with staff in the region to hear about the great work that takes place.
The day focused on sharing information, and included lots of time for discussion.
It was really helpful to hear about new software which extracts lists of patients with diabetes eligible for screening directly from GP systems and sends them to the programme electronically. This generated lots of lively discussion about how to process the huge amounts of extracted data.
I was particularly interested to hear about a health equity audit, as this is something that I am keen to undertake locally. We heard how it had provided useful information about areas where uptake of screening is particularly low, and will enable providers and commissioners to work together to try and address these issues.
We then learned how a provider in a different part of the region is working with their local community to promote local engagement among groups of patients who are less likely to attend screening appointments.
In the afternoon we were fortunate to be joined by staff from the national programme who gave an update about plans to implement extended screening intervals in 2019/20, and on training opportunities for screening staff.
Overall the day was informative and provided plenty of opportunity for informal discussion about the issues that we face during the day-to-day running of a busy screening programme.