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New investment for Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme

5 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caral Ní Chuilín has said a new Diabetic Retinopathy screening programme launched today will help prevent blindness among people with diabetes in the North.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"Today's announcement of a £800,000 investment for the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme (DRSP) in the North will help provide a comprehensive screening programme available to all GPs to enable eligible patients with diabetes to be screened for sight threatening eye disease annually.

"Over 55,000 people in North have been diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated that another 20,000 have the condition but don't know it.

"Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in people of working age. Earlier detection and diagnosis of Diabetic retinopathy eye disease is crucial to help prevent visual loss.

"Full implementation of the screening programme is set to be in place by March 2008, and screening will be offered to eligible people with diabetes who are 12 years old and over. We must always be looking for new treatments and services being provided right across the health service, so I very much welcome the news of today's investment." ENDS

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