Spotlight on DESP Part 2: Patient Care

30 Jan 2017

Patient care is at the core of the service that we provide. Across our DESP areas, we have implemented several initiatives in order to ensure that patients have access to the best care and are satisfied with the attention that they are given.

Analysing and improving

We consistently listen to patients to understand what they think about their care and to see if there are any ways to improve their experience. In Kent & Medway this takes the form of a Patient Champion Programme, where patient representatives attend meetings to give us views on service improvements. Through forums like these, we can gain important face time with patients outside of their screening appointments.

Surveys are also a key part of gaining feedback. For our Programme Managers like Denise Young at North of Tyne & Gateshead, this information is key to creating programme frameworks: “This quarter we will be working towards analysing the survey results and forming an action plan on outcomes and quotes, so that we can address any patient issues. You said, we did!”

Such initiatives have allowed us to gain key insight into making patients as happy as possible whilst in our care.

After surveying over 18,000 service users, over 99% thought the service was excellent or good, and over 99% would recommend the service to a friend or family member with diabetes.

Reaching as many patients as possible

It is key to us that patients are given an appointment in a timely manner and that they also attend these appointments. This way we can ensure that patients receive the care that they deserve, and that the effects of diabetes on a patient’s eyesight is kept to a minimum.

One of the ways in which we are achieving these goals is through CQUINS. Our Bradford and Airedale programme is leading the way under Programme Manager Suzanne Beshara, who is targeting those who are most at risk: “We are working on our CQUIN – improving access and service provision for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.”

North of Tyne & Gateshead are also currently completing a CQUIN in an attempt to engage patients and drive uptake of appointments. This project runs alongside their impressive service of offering 100% of newly registered patients an appointment within 12 weeks.

We are also looking into when and why patients may not come to DESP sessions. In Central Mersey, Programme Manager Kimberly Gallienne notes that, “We have looked into a group of patients who have not responded to DESP invitations or attended a booked appointment. Our experienced graders have been contacting these patients to encourage attendance for diabetic eye screening, establishing the reasons for non-attendance and answer any queries the patient may have.”

These projects run alongside mobile screening sessions and out of hours/ weekend appointments – like our work with local optometry stores in North of Tyne and Gateshead – to ensure that DNA rates are low and that as many patients as possible are reached.


One way that we help our patients is to educate them about their condition and what they can do to best care for themselves. As a standard, all of our clinicians and screeners inform patients of ways to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy and deal with diabetes.

We are also working with Diabetes Essential in our Central Mersey programme in order to ensure that referrals are created and appointments are kept.