Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

The Central Mersey Retinopathy Screening programme covers each of the 4 CCGs or boroughs within the area of the LOC: Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington. The service is now hosted and administered by the Mersey area team of NHS England.

Optical contractors are involved in Diabetic Retinopathy screening in each area, with additional screening provided by Northgate at community NHS sites. There is at least one NHS site in each borough and 33 sites altogether where patients can go for screening. Northgate also provide programme management and administration, as well as Image and Slit Lamp grading, with 4 local optometrists involved. LOC chair, Bob Wilkes acts as a clinical adviser to the programme.


Screening by optometrists first started in the old St Helens & Knowsley Health Authority area in 1996 and Warrington in 1995. It was a joint initiative between the old Health Authorities and LOC along with both the eye departments and diabetic clinics.

The old schemes were revered by patients, local GPs, the diabetic clinic and eye department. An audit in St Helns & Knowsley in 1999 showed good sensitivity and specificity. A patient survey in 2001 also showed a high level of satisfaction in the service and showed that patients particularly welcomed the convenience of a service in the community.

Previously, Volk lens and SL-BIO was the modality of choice. However, to conform with NSC standards, screening is mostly carried out by digital imaging, with Slit Lamp used if the images are too poor to grade.

If you wish to know more information on diabetic screening in Central Mersey, please contact the Clinical Adviser on:  bob.wilkes@nhs.net


This page has the main documents required by practices participating in screening in the Central Mersey cluster.