OPTOMETRY Scotland (OS), the optical professions membership body, has introduced regional representation in a bid to offer additional support to members.
These sub-divisions, covering the North, South, East and West of Scotland, aim to build on relationships and encourage engagement with independent optical practice owners and their staff.
A team of independent representatives, who already sit on the OS Executive Committee, will guide members on local issues, share experience and resources, and ensure their views are represented at both a local and national level.
Arthur McHugh, managing director of Hughes and McHugh Optometrists, will represent the West. Established in 1988, Arthur’s business has four practices covering Airdrie, Lanark, Baillieston and Uddingston.
The representative for the South is Colette Dunsmore, an Independent Prescribing Optometrist who serves on the Lanarkshire Area Optometric Committee. Colette owns her own practice in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire.
Ian Jarvis has taken on the North of the country. An Independent Prescribing and NESGAT qualified optometrist based in Dundee, Ian sits on the Tayside Area Optometric Committee.
In the East of Scotland, the representative is Richard Spruce who works for R.D McFarlane and Nicol Opticians. He divides his practice time between Forth Valley and the Scottish Borders.
Establishing regional clusters is part of a two-phase strategy undertaken by OS designed to increase engagement and two-way communication between existing members and the executive committee, and in turn increase independent membership.
Julie Mosgrove, chair of Optometry Scotland, said: “Introducing regional clusters with independent representatives allows us to gain deeper insight to the issues facing optometrists on a daily basis, meaning we can more accurately campaign on their behalf.
“We know there are some issues which will affect everyone, such as the fee we agree with the Scottish Government for carrying out eye examinations, but other challenges or examples of great practice will vary across the country, such as rural opticians or those working in large cities.
“It has been incredibly encouraging to see independent practices placing their trust in us, and their colleagues, as we continue to support the prioritisation of eye care in Scotland. As ever, we continue to support multiple members through their representative.
“Members of OS will use their independent rep as the main point of contact for support or guidance, with the team also providing regular updates on OS business to their local practices.”
Optometry Scotland is the representative body for the optical industry in Scotland, which has a proven track record of successfully advocating for optical professions.
The current membership is made up of around 80 businesses and 300 practices, including independent and multiple opticians.
For more information about Optometry Scotland, visit: https://www.optometryscotland.org.uk/