Title: Service innovation to help people live well with diabetes and reduce sight loss

Author: Helen Lee; Publisher: RNIB; Year of Publication: 2015

Key message

Through the co-production of patient centred interventions to improve self management this project was able to increase uptake of Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, Diabetic Retinopathy outpatient clinics, knowledge and understanding of eye health and diabetes.


Diabetic eye disease is one of the leading causes of certifiable sight loss amongst the working age population in the UK. Six percent of the UK adult population is currently diagnosed with diabetes; this is 3.2 million people. It is expected that this will increase to 4.6 million people (9.5 per cent of the adult population) by 2030. Ensuring people are able to effectively manage their diabetes, including attending eye health appointments is crucial to preventing complications such as sight loss.

RNIB worked in partnership with the NHS in Bradford, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the community of Bradford to pilot a suite of interventions designed to improve uptake of Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, eye examinations, appointments at diabetic retinopathy outpatient clinics and to improve knowledge and understanding of diabetes and eye health.

This research briefing outlines the findings from the pilot project.

Key findings

  • Attendance at Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (DRS) increased by 15 per cent amongst the target population.
  • Non attendance (DNA) at Diabetic Retinopathy outpatient clinics fell by 4 per cent amongst the target population.
  • Exposure to information about eye health and diabetes increased by 9 per cent.
  • There was a 15 per cent increase in understanding of the need to attend both eye examinations and DRS and a 23 per cent increase in understanding about the need to check blood sugars and attend appointments to reduce the risk of complications.
  • The ‘Living Well with Diabetes’ intervention to improve self management was popular with GP practices. Three local Clinical Commissioning Groups extended funding for the work to reach a further 12,000 patients.

Watch our videos about the pilot

Living well with diabetes in Bradford

A short report on the partnership between Bradford Districts, Bradford City, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and RNIB to help GP practices to improve self management of diabetes.