A MOBILE van which screen people for diabetes has just been ordered to travel around Gloucestershire, easing the pressure on GPs.

Gloucestershire Hospitals Charitable Funds have raised over £51,000 to add to £36,638 already allocated to the project by the Stroud Hospitals League of Friends to improve the treatment provided by the Gloucestershire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme in the community.

The Gloucestershire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (GDESP) has, since its launch 15 years ago, worked to provide a cost effective, patient-centred and easily accessible service from GP surgeries.

This proved popular with patients who were not able to drive after being administered dilating eye drops, however many surgeries are becoming increasingly unable to guarantee space for these clinics.

This has been compounded by an epidemic of diabetes, with 1,600 people a year diagnosed with the condition in Gloucestershire on average.

Around seven per cent of the county’s population have diabetes.

The vehicle will enable the service to continue to deliver a high quality service and screening from the vehicle, potentially screening 10,000 patients a year.

The van has two rooms enabling patients to be seen at more convenient locations near where they live and is expected to be available by September 2014.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s programme director, professor Peter Scanlon, said: “We are grateful to Stroud Hospitals League of Friends and the Gloucestershire Hospitals Charitable Funds for this generous donation, which will make it easier for the service to screen a higher percentage of patients.

“The funds our patients, relatives and friends and family donate to our Charitable Fund enable us to provide this kind of enhanced care for our patients and we would like to thank these people for enabling us to support this project as well as the generous support from the Stroud Hospitals League of Friends without whom this would not be possible.”