Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP)

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The NCL Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (NCL-DESP) is the only provider of NHS specialist diabetic eye screening in NCL, testing to check for risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. 

All newly diagnosed patients with diabetes should be referred to NCL-DESP as soon as possible.

NCL-DESP is provided by North Middlesex University Hospital trust (NMUH) and conducts a quality assured screening at 10 locations across the five boroughs of NCL (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.)

All people over the age of 12 years, with a diagnosis of diabetes should attend for an annual diabetic eye screening test.

Eligibility criteria


  • aged 12+ and have received a definitive diagnosis of Diabetes
  • this diagnosis has been discussed with the patient
  • patients under 12 years may be referred to the programme but they will not be invited for a screening appointment until after their 12th birthday

If there are specific concerns about any under-12s, then in accordance with national guidelines these patients should be referred to be seen by paediatric ophthalmology consultants in a hospital eye clinic.


  • have a result indicating IGT (Impaired Glucose Tolerance), borderline diabetes or pre-diabetes, and impaired fasting glycaemia
    • if you believe that a patient with any of the above should have a retinal examination, you can refer the patient directly to the ophthalmology team
  • have a diagnosis of gestational diabetes as patients with pure gestational diabetes do not seem to progress to any referable degree of diabetic retinopathy during their pregnancy
    • if a patient has gestational diabetes, but has possible pre-existing diabetes then we are happy to add the patient to our screening programme and screen the patient according to the national guidelines as long as the patient’s new status has been updated with their GP. See the NCL-DESP gestational guidelines for further clarity
  • patients whom you believe to be medically unfit

How to refer

The following clinicians can refer to this service: GPs, Diabetes Midwives

EMIS form

Referral methods: Email

Complete the North Central London Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Referral Form and email to northmid.ncldesp@nhs.net

Where to find the form

In local EMIS global document library systems as follows:

  • Barnet: Bar Global Documents > Referral Forms (BAR GLOBAL)
  • Enfield: ENF Global Documents > Diabetes 
  • Haringey: HAR Global Documents > Diabetes 
  • Islington: ISL Global Documents > Diabetes Community Services 

Camden: Find the form on the Camden EMIS Forms page

In addition, NCLDESP will arrange regular capture of your practice list of patients with a diabetes 'read code' via GP2DRS. We request your assistance with this, in order that we may ensure that all patients have been correctly enrolled in the Programme. All patients on this list will be invited for screening.

Editable PDF / Word document Download Form

Referral methods: Email

Complete the North Central London Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Referral Form and email to northmid.ncldesp@nhs.net


Torrington Park Health Centre

Monday-Friday, evening clinics available and occasional Saturdays

Edgware Community Hospital

Monday-Friday, evening clinics and alternate Saturdays

Evergreen Primary Care Centre

Monday-Saturday and evening clinic

James Wigg Practice

Monday-Friday, evening clinics available

Morum House Medical Centre


Royal Free Hospital

Monday-Friday and occasional Saturday clinics available

The 157 Medical Practice


Whittington Hospital

External Links