ACCORDING to research published by Diabetes UK, more people than ever have diabetes.

It is now estimated that 3.7 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes throughout the UK.

Without the right action to tackle this issue, it’s estimated that more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025.

Bolton has its share of residents who are directly affected, that’s why it’s vital we have local services to help diagnose any problems in order to treat people at the earliest possible stage.

It was excellent to learn that only last year Bolton NHS Paediatric Diabetes team was highlighted as one of the best in the country.

This shows what can be achieved through investment in our local NHS.

Bolton Diabetes Centre has been able to offer patients with diabetes (type 1 and 2) annual eye and foot screening.

This service helps to reduce the risk of sight loss and amputation amongst people with diabetes through early detection and appropriate treatment.

It can be really difficult to get to medical appointments particularly for people with reduced mobility.

That’s why it has been excellent that the Diabetes Centre has been able offer eye and foot screening at one appointment.

This to me, is an efficient way to help ensure that vulnerable people get the help and support that they need.

I was shocked to discover recently that our local NHS Diabetes staff had recently lost the contract to provide diabetes screening.

I was also shocked to find the contract has been awarded to a private company who will no longer offer dual eye/foot screening.

This means that people will now need to have two screening appointments instead of one.

This will effectively make it twice as hard for many people to get the screening and support they need.

This seems such a backward step and not in the interests of patients.

I worry that many vulnerable people will lose out as a result of these changes.

I sincerely hope that our NHS decision makers can be persuaded to think again.

We need to ensure that NHS decisions always put patients first.

Joan Pritchard-Jones