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Diabetic eye screening programme

NHS diabetic eye screening programme

Our team consists of a programme manager, an ophthalmologist, optometrists, retinal screeners/graders and administrative staff who are all nationally accredited.

Services operate across County Durham and Darlington and are held in varying venues providing patients with care as close to their home as possible.

The first point of contact for our patients is our dedicated appointment staff who can offer and amend appointments at all locations and offer times suitable to patient needs.

Our dedicated telephone appointment booking line is 01325 746294.

The aim the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme is to reduce the risk of sight loss for people with diabetes, by the prompt identification and effective treatment of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy, at the appropriate stage during the disease process.  Systematic screening involves digital photography of the retina followed by a two - or three - stage image grading process to identify the changes of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy in the retina.

This service is available to people with diabetes over the age of 12 throughout County Durham and Darlington (patients in East Durham and Easington receive their treatment from another NHS provider) and is administered from Doctor Piper House, King Street, Darlington, clinics throughout Durham Dales, Derwentside, Durham & Chester le Street and Sedgefield localities.

Patients are contacted by letter to attend for Diabetic Eye Screening. Diabetic Eye Screening DOES NOT replace regular vision checks with an Optometrist (Ophthalmic Optician), who should also be seen by patients for regular eye examinations relating to provision of spectacles.

How can diabetic eye screening help?

Diabetic retinopathy is due to damage associated with the blood vessels supplying the retina, the 'seeing' part of the eye, which, if left untreated will cause serious deterioration in the acuteness of vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the single most common cause of blindness among people aged between 16 and 64 in Great Britain.

The Diabetic Eye Screening Programme is a national screening service available for all members of the public aged 12 and over who have diabetes.

The aim of the programme is to detect retinopathy at an early stage so treatment can be given which can avoid future complications or blindness.

Appointment line contact number

Tel: 01325 746294

Opening hours for appointment bookings

8.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Friday

Service information

County Durham & Darlington Diabetic Eye Screening Programme is based at Doctor Piper House in Darlington where the administration department is located.

Diabetic eye screening takes place at the following locations:



Doctor Piper House via Entrance 'C', King Street.


Stanley Primary Care Centre


Shotley Bridge Community Hospital


Chester le Street Community Hospital

Durham & Chester le Street

University Hospital of North Durham - Eye Department

Durham & Chester le Street

Bishop Auckland Hospital - Ward 9

Durham Dales

Richardson Community Hospital - Barnard Castle

Durham Dales

Willington Health Centre

Durham Dales

Weardale Community Hospital - Stanhope

Durham Dales

Pioneering Care Centre, Cobblers Hall - N Aycliffe


Sedgefield Community Hospital



Clinic days and times

Clinics run across all sites on varying weekdays throughout the month with the first appointment of the day at 8.40am and the last appointment at 4pm.  Appointments usually last for 30 to 40 minutes and require the administration of eye drops the effects of which may last up to six hours before your vision returns to normal.  You must not drive until you are confident your vision has returned to normal, to do so before your vision has recovered may invalidate your motor insurance cover.     

How do people access the service?

Referrals are received from your General Practitioner as soon as you have been diagnosed with diabetes regardless of age.  Referrals received for those under the age of 12 are held until their twelfth birthday when an initial appointment is then sent.

Contact details - to book or change appointments and for general enquiries

Telephone: 01325 746 294

Should you require any further information please refer to 

County Durham and Darlington NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Team

Programme Manager

Clinical Lead Ophthalmologist

Kevin J Garrigan

Mr Saju Thomas

Administration Team

Screener / Graders

Helen Davis

Linda Bayliss-Brown

Karen Gay

Leanne Hirst

Jill Richardson

Marta Hudson


Pauline McGlen


Liam Rose

 Robert Mottershead

Christine Summerson-Wright

 Ellis Leatherbarrow

Sharron Underwood

 Walia Kani

Kate Vickers

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital