A diabetes charity has warned that thousands of people with the condition are missing out on advanced eye tests, which could be risking their sight.
Figures show that around 500,000 diabetics in the UK are still not being given a test with digital cameras. The examination, which allows an accurate picture to be taken, detects diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness among people of working age in the UK.
The government set targets for all diabetics to have been offered the test by the end of 2007, but Diabetes UK said the latest Department of Health figures show that 26% of adult diabetics did not receive the advanced retinal screening between January and December 2008.
Another target was set by the government for 80% of the people offered the digital camera screening in 2007 to have had the test done by March 2008.
But the charity says that 100 out of 152 of primary care trusts (PCTs) are still failing to meet that standard.
The Department of Health figures show that the following six PCTs screened the lowest percentage of their diabetes population in 2008: North Yorkshire and York (20.9%), West Hertfordshire (21.9%), Wirral (34.6%), Camden (43.7%), Isle of Wight (46.5%) and Hampshire (51.1%).
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“Many of our patients, despite constant reminders, fail to attend for retinal screening although the practice arranges appointments” – Maralyn Parkins, address withheld