Your GP practice

All GP practices in Kent co-ordinate the care of their patients who are living with diabetes, sometimes with the help of diabetes specialists. Normally you would expect to visit your practice every three or six months. The doctors and nurses at your GP practice will:

  • make sure you have all your annual screening tests
  • work with you to agree a care plan, which will include setting goals to help you lead a healthier lifestyle
  • discuss your medication – are you taking it as it appears on the prescription, is it working for you and are you having any problems?
  • advise you when you need help from other specialist services
  • provide family planning advice

Always contact your GP practice if you have any questions or need advice about diabetes.

Specialist diabetes teams

There are teams of diabetes specialists all around Kent, including podiatrists, consultant diabetologists, dieticians and diabetic specialist nurses. There are also specialist teams who care for children with diabetes – they are called paediatric specialists.

Your GP will refer you to these specialist services, which are based in Ashford, Dartford, Maidstone, Medway, Margate and Tunbridge Wells.

More info on where you can go for support

Retinal screening service

A common complication of diabetes is damage to the ‘seeing’ part of the eye.

This is called diabetic retinopathy and if not treated it can lead to blindness. Indeed, retinopathy is one of the most common causes of blindness among people of working age in the UK.

Everyone who has diabetes is invited for free eye screening every year to check for diabetic retinopathy.

Your annual screening checks are essential because often there are no symptoms until it is well advanced. In fact people with retinopathy may not even be aware of changes to the retina until their vision has been permanently damaged.

During retinal screening a picture of your retina is photographed using a special digital camera. This is then sent to a specialist who will look for any changes that need to be treated.

If you do not need any treatment it’s still important to keep attending your screening appointments each year.

Everyone who has diabetes is invited to have a free special eye test (retinal screening) every year.

The Kent & Medway Eye Screening Service is provided by a company called In Health Intelligence. The service is based at the Paula Carr Diabetes Centre in Ashford and there are also specialist retinal screening centres around the county.

To make, change or cancel an appointment call 01233 880000.

For more information about the treatments for diabetic retinopathy visit the Diabetes UK website

The Paula Carr Diabetes Trust

The Paula Carr Diabetes Trust is an independent charitable trust supporting people in Kent & Medway living with diabetes.

The Trust was started in 1989 in memory of Paula Carr, who was born in Ashford on 5 June 1975. Paula was diagnosed with diabetes in 1984 at the age of nine and learned how to cope with insulin injections and to balance her blood sugar levels.

Tragically though, Paula died following a hypoglycaemic episode as she slept on 18 April 1988, two months short of her thirteenth birthday.

Paula’s family have helped and supported the charity since it was set up.