Shropshire Star

Primary school signs up to innovative diabetes screening programme

Primary school aged children in Bridgnorth are being tested for diabetes in an innovative programme aiming to detect the disease early in youngsters.

Clinical research assistant Tina Lewis giving the test to St Leonard’s pupil Jasmine

Pupils St Leonard’s Primary School are being screened for Type 1 diabetes, a serious form of the disease where the blood glucose level is too high because the body cannot make insulin.

The team behind the ELSA study (Early Surveillance for Autoimmune diabetes) hope by identifying children at risk, they can be prevented from becoming unwell and start receiving treatment sooner.

The simple finger stick blood test have arisen following a collaboration between Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust and the Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM).

Nurses from the trust have already held briefing sessions at St Leonard’s to inform parents and encourage them to sign their children up for the screening, with 34 children coming forward.

Health officials hope more local schools will follow the example of St Leonard’s.

Dr Lauren Quinn, clinical research fellow for the ELSA Study, said: “The ELSA Study Team is delighted to be working with these local partners to deliver the ELSA study to community sites and schools in the region. Parents can sign up online and complete a home-testing kit or get tested in one of the clinics offered by the Trust.”

The ELSA study aims to screen 20,000 children aged 3-13 before the end of February 2025 by working with schools and GP surgeries across the UK.

Luke Bridges, St Leonard’s headteacher, said: “I am proud that St Leonard’s can be a part of this research project. It has raised awareness of diabetes in our community, and it has demonstrated our school’s commitment to supporting the NHS.

"I hope that the school can be involved in future projects. I am also proud of the children who took part. They were a credit to our school.”