Sunday 3 May 2015


 I know I promised to write about our holiday in Italy, last May, but I really haven't had time and I'll explain why.

Since last October I and another lady from our little town have been organising a campaign to have a vital Diabetic service reinstated at our local health cente and it will be going on until at least September.

Some of you that know about Diabetes will know some of the problems Diabetics face, one of which is Diabetic Retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy or ‘retinopathy’ is damage to the retina (the 'seeing' part at the back of the eye) and is a complication that can affect people with diabetes. Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among people of working age in the UK.  In the UK annual screening is offered to all type 1 and 2 diabetics to ensure that any changes in the retina are detected and can be treated.  

In October last year I noticed a letter in our local newspaper where someone stated that the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service was no longer being held at our local health centre and I posted on one of our Town's Facebook pages asking if anyone could verify this.   Another resident of our town and Type 2 diabetic replied saying she had just received her appointment for her annual screening to go to a neighbouring town.  There were lots of comments on this subject and people were incensed that we were expected to travel our of town for this screening which meant, for some who didn't have someone to take them to and from their appointment, up to a three bus journey.   This may not sound so difficult but when one has had the screening one is rendered virtually blind for a number of hours because of the drops used to dilate the pupils.  Imagine trying to negotiate a three bus return journey when you can't see!  Also many diabetics are elderly and sometimes infirm which makes the journey even more hazardous.   The cost of a taxi there and back to the new venues would cost in the region of £20 and this is unaffordable to a lot of people.

Anyway. myself and Janet,, (the lady who contacted me) decided to do something about it so we wrote to our councillors, our MP and various organisations to try to find out why the service had  been withdrawn.  Things snowballed and soon I had set up a Facebook page for the group, which we called Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Action Goup, which fellow diabetics and their families flocked to join and complain about the withdrawal.   Things escalated and we organised a petition calling for the reinstatement of the service which with the help of other members of the group we were able to ,distribute and collect 1080 signatures.The local press have published weekly updates on the campaign and two of our group are representing us on a sub-group in an NHS Consultation, which is in fact what the NHS should have done BEFORE withdrawing the service.

We did have some good news a couple of weeks ago in that an organisation who have been helping us in our campaign, Healthwatch  Rochdale,  said they had received confirmation that rooms had  been booked at our health centre for November 2015 - April 2016 for the next round of screening, however the powers that be will not confirm it so we don't know whether the rooms have been booked just in case we win or they have already made up their minds that we have. 

We are determined to fight on until we have written confirmation that the service will be returned to Heywood.  Having been retired for 6 years this campaign has certainly got my brain cells working again and I have had little time for anything else.  Hopefully all our hard work and tenacity will be fruitful.

So, as you can tell, I haven't had any time for blogging recently and it will probably been a few months before I can get down to it again.  Also MWM and I are going on holiday on the 14th May to - ITALY - I will tell you about last year's trip before I tell you about this year's I promise.  LOL

Please keep everything crossed for our campaign and I'll keep you posted.  

If you would like to follow the campaign on our Facebook Page here is the link