South east London diabetic eye screening


Making a referral

We do not need GP practices to refer patients to us manually, or for patients to self-refer.

We automatically get referrals from the national diabetic eye screening referral system (GP2DRS) for patients with diabetes and registered with a GP in south east London clinical commissioning group (CCG). This was previously Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham CCGs.

We have a register of all patients aged 12 and over who have had a diagnosis of type 1, 2 or steroid-induced diabetes. This includes patients whose diabetes is in remission. These patients should continue to receive diabetic eye screening and other checks annually.

GP practices need to be signed up to the calculating quality reporting service (CQRS) to submit their diabetes register to us each month. We add new patients to our register and invite them for screening. We're also notified of changes of address, name, and GP practice to keep our register up to date.

Patients will not appear on the register or be invited for screening if:

  • they're coded with 'diabetes resolved' (this is an administrative code used for a diagnosis made in error. Any patients who have ever had a diagnosis of diabetes should be coded 'diabetes in remission')
  • they're registered under a temporary registration, student registration or private patient registration
  • they have gestational diabetes, unless a hospital consultant suspects type 2 diabetes
  • they have been coded with 'consent to share demographic data for retinal screening withheld'.  Please make sure that patients with this code understand they won't be invited for eye screening and that this code will transfer with them if they move practices

We invite patients for screening 1 to 3 months after they're added to our register. Please make sure patients know they have diabetes before they're invited for eye screening.

If you have any questions about this process, please email us.

Onward referral and treatment for diabetic retinopathy

We refer patients who screen positive to the hospital eye service closest to the screening location they attended.

We refer to:

  • St Thomas' Hospital
  • King's College London
  • Queen Mary's Hospital, which operates a satellite clinic at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Lewisham Hospital
  • Princess Royal University Hospital

We'll monitor and track patients referred for diabetic eye disease or another urgent retina condition identified as an incidental finding while they're under the care of the hospital eye service.

Patients will be suspended from screening while they're under the care of a medical retina specialist.

Patients attending the hospital eye service for another condition, for example glaucoma, should continue to attend for retinal screening and aren't suspended.

Patients who want to opt out of screening

Patients may choose to opt out of screening. They're asked to sign a form confirming that they have discussed this with their GP and understand the risks. If a patient wants to opt out, please contact us and we'll send them a form. If we receive a signed form, we'll send a copy to their registered GP. If a patient has requested a form but has not returned it to us they will continue to be invited for screenings.

Opt out periods are 1, 2 or 3 years. Patients who want to opt out for 3 years or longer will automatically be invited for screening after 3 years but can opt out again by signing a new form.

Please discuss this decision with your patient to make sure they have made an informed choice to opt out of screening. Patients need to understand the risk of not having their eyes screened for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a symptomless disease until it is in advanced stages. 

If you receive an opt out form from us signed by one of your patients who you haven't discussed the risks with, please contact them to talk about their decision. We're happy to put them back on the register at any time.

Patients who do not attend their screening

Any patient who does not attend their diabetic eye screening will be sent a letter and their GP will be notified. We ask that GPs inform us of any reasons why patients may not have attended their appointment or if patients may no longer be suitable. For example, if they're medically unfit for screening.

We'll offer patients who do not attend (DNA) another appointment automatically. If they don't come to this appointment they’ll be invited the following year. Our DNA rates for our clinics can be up to 35%. Please help us reduce this by:

  • making sure patients are aware of the importance of eye screening
  • making sure patients are aware of their diagnosis of diabetes
  • letting us know any other information that can help us to see your patient

Last updated: January 2024

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