https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/31/updated-national-diabetic-eye-screening-standards-published/

Updated national diabetic eye screening standards published

Image of a compute screen displaying the new diabetic eye screening standards page on GOV.UK
The new diabetic eye screening standards

Diabetic eye screening reduces the risk of sight loss among people with diabetes by detecting diabetic retinopathy early when treatment is most effective.

The NHS Diabetic Eye Screening (DES) Programme introduced a suite of new standards in April 2017.

Over the past year, we have listened to feedback from providers, commissioners and screening quality assurance service (SQAS) colleagues to review these national standards.

As a result, we have now published revised national DES pathway standards that apply to all data collected from 1 April 2019 onwards.

Local DES providers should make sure they are familiar with these updated standards.

What has changed

Changes to the standards include:

DES-S02 (timely invitation for first routine digital screening appointment)

Screening providers that use the open appointment model have 7 days from the date of an individual’s diabetes registration to send out the screening invitation letter. The individual still needs to be offered a screening appointment within 89 days of registration to meet this standard.

DES-S03 (timely recall for routine digital screening)

The +/- 6 weeks has been amended to only include +6 weeks so programmes are not penalised for recalling individuals who do not attend within the reporting period. However, -6 weeks will still be available on reports to make sure services are not operating screening intervals of less than 12 months.

DES-S04 (timely recall for slit lamp biomicroscopy)

The +/- 6 weeks has been amended to only include +6 weeks so programmes are not penalised for recalling individuals who do not attend within the reporting period. However, -6 weeks will still be available on reports to make sure services are not operating screening intervals of less than 12 months.

The following thresholds have been introduced, which will be reviewed again in 12 months’ time:

  • 60% acceptable
  • 85% achievable

DES-S06 (pregnancy standard)

This will now report quarterly instead of annually.

We are aware providers have difficulty achieving this standard due to NICE guidance, software configurations and the ability to identify women who are pregnant.

No thresholds will be added for this standard until data is of better quality.

DES-S08 (proportion of cohort who have DNA’d in previous 3 years)

The following thresholds are being introduced, which will be reviewed again in 12 months:

  • <8% acceptable
  • <5% achievable

Alongside the review of pathway standards we evaluated how local providers were using digital surveillance (DS) pathways across the country.

This exercise highlighted a large variation in the reasons for using DS and variation in the recall periods used.

Over the next 12 months, we will carry out a full review/consultation of the DS pathway within the screening programme to make sure it is being used appropriately. We will also provide some additional guidance for providers on how to use DS.

Please forward any queries about the updated DES standards to the PHE screening helpdesk.

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