March 2018 Newsletter

St Helens & District Group

NEWSLETTER           March 2018                                          

Welcome to tonight`s meeting, we would like to thank Bob Wilkes for coming along to talk to us once more, he first came to speak to us about the Retinopathy Screening Service in September 1996, which was shortly after the local  service first started. Bob is an Optometrist from RD Wilkes Opticians, Rainhill, he is also the Clinical Adviser to the Central Mersey Eye Screening Programme and the Chair of the Local Optical Committee (LOC) Bob is talking to us on the subject of, “Diabetes Eye Screening – The current view.” We would like to thank Bob for working so hard over the years to ensure we have such a superb and efficient Eye Screening Programme! Thanks Bob!!

It is vital that everyone with diabetes has their eyes screened annually, so that the early signs of Diabetic Retinopathy can be picked up and hopefully treated before they cause sight problems. Your Dr should have referred you to the screening programme when your diabetes was diagnosed. If you have not been called for screening in the last year, ring the Screening Office on 0151 495 5100 ASAP. Help yourself to the Eye leaflets which are available at the front. We also have some contact cards for Maria Pikulski, who is the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (E.C.L.O.) from St Helens Hospital Eye Clinic. Maria came to speak to us 2 years ago. If you worry about getting a visual impairment in the future, or you already have a problem with your eyesight, you might want to contact Maria, she can help by offering support and information. Remember, your vision is precious, so look after it!

Anyone who missed the last meeting about Driving and Diabetes, or who would like a copy of the Power Point Presentation that Claire from the NW Office did for us, please put your name and email address on the sheet at the front and we`ll email you a copy of it. A few of us have been wondering what we should do if we felt our blood sugars dropping whilst we were on one of the new Smart Motorways, which don`t have hard shoulders. The most important thing is to always test your blood sugar levels before driving, but if you do feel your bloods are dropping then stop in the next Emergency Refuge Area (ERA) which are situated every 1.5 miles. The ERAs are marked with blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol on them. Each ERA will have an emergency telephone, use this to contact Highways England, who will either send a traffic officer to help you, or set the motorway signs to “temporarily clear lane 1” to assist you when you are ready to rejoin the motorway. In all cases, switch on your hazard lights. For further details you can phone the Highways England Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000, or go to  

Last year at our AGM, Cherry said that she would be stepping down in 2018 after 10 years as Chairperson.

This means that we could do with someone else or even a couple of people who would like to help with some of the work of running the Group by joining our Committee, which currently stands at 6 people. If you are interested in helping or would just like some more information, then please see one of the Committee at the end of the meeting.

Diabetes UK are currently running a campaign called Taking Control, with the aim of making sure that everyone is given the chance to attend a Diabetes Patient Education Course. Most of us with diabetes only spend around three hours a year with our doctor, nurse or Consultant. For the other 8,757 hours we must manage our diabetes ourselves! Coping with diabetes day-to-day can be difficult. That is why it’s important that we all have the knowledge and skills to manage our condition, so we can live well and lower our risk of complications. If you have never attended one of these courses, ask your GP or Practice Nurse to refer you on to a local one. For more info you could phone DUK`s Helpline on 0345 123 2399 or email

How do you dispose of your sharps? The safe method is in a sharps bin, supplied and emptied free of charge by your Local Council. If you live in St Helens you can request the service yourself, by phoning 01744 676789. For Knowsley residents, referral needs to be made by a Healthcare Professional. Ask them to phone 0151 443 2400, on your behalf.

Would you like to be more involved in your local NHS? St Helens CCG has a membership scheme to enable patients, carers and members of the public to get  involved and work with them on developing or designing health services. For further details contact 01744 627 596, or email

The University of Oxford and the University of Manchester are looking for people with Type 2 diabetes to take part in an important research study. The aim of this study is to understand how mobile phones and other digital devices can be used to provide information and advice about medications, for people who take tablets to control their Type 2 diabetes, The research would simply involve reviewing example text messages as part of a survey. For further info phone: 0161 306 5436, or go to

Or you can email Your experience of type 2 diabetes and your views on taking medication for it would make a valuable contribution to this research.

Make sure you don`t become part of a shocking diabetes statistic! NHS data now shows that there are 23 diabetes-related amputations every day in England alone, this is at an all time high! The good news is that with good diabetes healthcare and support, experts estimate that four out of five amputations could be prevented! Eighty per cent of amputations are caused by foot ulcers, which are largely avoidable and far more treatable if found early. Make sure you have your annual diabetes foot check. If you no longer have appts to see a Podiatrist, you should still have your annual foot check from your GP or your Practice Nurse. You should only have to pay to have your toe nails cut if you no longer see a Podiatrist for diabetes foot problems. Help yourself to some of the Diabetes foot care leaflets from the front.

Details of next meeting :

Date . . . . . . . . Wednesday 4th April 2018, 7.30pm.

Subject . . . . . . Diabetes, the NHS and me.

Speaker . . . . . . Dr Stuart Bootle, Retired GP, Workshop Facilitator and person with diabetes.

The charity for people with diabetes                                     

Diabetes UK is the operating name of the British Diabetic Association                                                                             

Company limited by guarantee. Registered Office: 10 Parkway, London NW1 7AA

Registered in England  no. 339181 Registered charity no. 215199