LOCSU announces Optical Leads appointments

19 June 2012

LOCSU is pleased to announce the appointment of five Optical Leads to support Local Optical Committees (LOCs) in negotiating and implementing primary eye care services at a local level.  Following feedback from LOCs that they wanted hands-on help to negotiate with commissioners, LOCSU embarked upon a recruitment process to find optical professionals with the specific skills and expertise this role requires.

Katrina Venerus, Director of Operations and Commissioning said:

“The Optical Leads in year one were very successful in bringing LOCs together. The current pace of change in the NHS means that we now need to refocus the role of the Optical Leads to concentrate on supporting LOCs specifically where commissioning opportunities emerge.   The NHS reforms provide an opportunity for us to increase the number of enhanced services across England and it is vital that we help LOCs seize the day by giving them immediate access to the help and advice they have told us they need.”

The Optical Leads who have been appointed to take this work forward are Charles Barlow, Jane Bell, Liz Greenwood, Dharmesh Patel and Zoe Richmond. 

Notes to editors

  • A survey of LOC Chairs carried out in February 2012 indicated that 88% of people surveyed would welcome hands-on support in negotiating with commissioners.
  • Charles Barlow has a wide experience of leadership roles within the sector including Secretary of Dudley LOC for 10 years (now Vice-Chair), former Vice-Chair Coventry and Warwickshire AOP, Dudley Low Vision Services Committee and Solihull LOC. He has also been involved in the creation of CovSolWar Regional LOC Group and Heart of West Midlands Regional Optical Committee. Charles has worked with various LOCs across the West Midlands over the past 12 months to support them in their work to develop enhanced services.
  • Jane Bell has worked with LOCSU as an Advisor since January 2008, during which time she has assisted numerous LOCs in the development of local services.  Her other roles include AOP Director, Chair of the Optical Confederation’s Primary Care Committee and Chair of Dorset LOC. Jane also sits on the Vision 2020 UK Primary Care Group. 
  • Liz Greenwood is an Optometric Advisor working across the Humber cluster and has been a key driver in the development of community optometry based services for over 10 years. Liz has been closely involved with the development of the recently launched CORRS scheme and the Local Eye Network.  Liz is a trained facilitator, coach and mentor and is in the process of completing the LOCSU Leadership for Optical Professionals postgraduate module at Cardiff University.
  • Dharmesh Patel has a wide range of experience within the optical sector and is an active member of Stockport LOC where he has worked on business cases for local enhanced services, and is leading current negotiations with the PCT. Dharmesh is the current Chair of Eyecare Trust’s Board of Trustees. 
  • Zoe Richmond has worked as an Optometric Advisor to the NHS in Teeside for many years.  During that time Zoe has played a key role in the development of all the current enhanced services across Tees and has been an active member of the LOC for most of her optometric career. In the past year, Zoe has worked with LOCs across the North East of England - supporting them in the development of business cases and in negotiations with commissioners.


Media enquiries
Jenny Manchester, Communications Manager at LOCSU on jennymanchester@locsu.co.uk or call 07703 677697


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