Taking time out from fuming about £8.99 per month standing charge for £2.22 worth of gas to fume about the NHS and its 1950s British public service tribute acts.

Briefly, people with diabetes are at risk of damage to nerves in their eyes (diabetic retinopathy) which can lead to blindness. Annual screening can detect this at an early stage and prompt early action to prevent sight loss.

Pre-Covid, the service in Oxfordshire was carried out by nominated opticians (from memory, there may also have been an option to go to the Eye Hospital). The test involves having your pupils fully dilated and this takes several hours to wear off, meaning that you want as short and as simple a journey as possible, minimising the amount of time you spend in daylight, even with sunglasses. Opticians with easily accessed high street locations and Saturday opening were an ideal way of delivering this service. It was simple and effective.

The service was suspended during Covid, then restarted with a couple of opticians and the Eye Hospital. The service has now been moved to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, with no other options and, rather than inviting patients to make an appointment, they have instituted the archaic system of issuing random appointments (by letter) which then have to be cancelled or rearranged. They may even find that appointments are missed because some people simply ignore rather be put to the inconvenience of cancelling or changing appointments (by phone) that they didn’t make in the first place.

In my view, making things more difficult for people is likely to lead to a lower take up of screening with the inevitable consequences further down the line.