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The difficulties faced by GPs in hitting diabetes targets are highlighted by new figures revealing huge variations in access to retinopathy screening. The Department of Health data, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that while some PCTs hit the national service framework target of 80 per cent, others screened no diabetes patients at all (see box).

The quality and outcomes framework pays GPs maximum points for ensuring 90 per cent of patients are screened within 15 months, a timeframe NICE wants to see reduced to one year.

Worst five PCTs

Proportion of diabetes patients screened for retinopathy 2004/5

·Rotherham 0%

·Guildford & Waverley 0%

·East Surrey 0%

·Crawley 0%

·Hastings & St Leonards 0%

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