Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Annual Report 2016-2017

DESP report cover

The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme (DRSP) for Northern Ireland was established in 2008. In 2015 the programme name changed to the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP).

The programme is commissioned and quality assured by the Public Health Agency (PHA) in collaboration with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) who are responsible for the management and delivery of the programme. The two organisations work closely together to provide an effective, safe and accessible service. Screening is delivered locally in line with national quality standards and protocols. This report summarises the performance of the programme against key standards for the financial year 2016/17.

This report covers a period of considerable change for the Northern Ireland Diabetic Eye Screening Programme. Work continued relating to the programme of modernisation which commenced as a result of RQIA recommendations; some of the major pieces of work which took place in 2016/17 were:

  • Training of existing photographers to enable them to not only carry out the digital photography needed for screening but also the initial grading of these images, along with the instilling of eye drops
  • Reduction in reliance on general practice with practice nurses no longer required to instil eye drops
  • The centralisation of the call/recall function within the screening office, again reducing the burden on general practice
  • Upgrade of OptoMize, the screening patient management system to allow for improved call/recall functions and participant management
  • Introduction of direct referral to Hospital Eye Services (HES), allowing reduced delays and improve accuracy in the referral process, whilst ensuring the participant’s general practitioner (GP) and Diabetologist are kept informed.

Some of the key performance measures in 2016/17;

  • 69.2% (45,845/66,271) of all those invited for diabetic eye screening across Northern Ireland attended
  • 262 of the 337 GP practices in Northern Ireland (77.8%) had their eligible diabetic participants screened in 2016/17.
  • Of the 262 practices screened, 247 were screened in 15 months or less

Further information on screening performance is available in section 6.


A4, 23 pages, report
Target group
Health professionals. General public.


Attachment Size
NIDESP Annual Report 1617 Final260618.pdf 850.84 KB