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Our People

Meet the LOCSU central team and our national team of Optical Leads. To get in touch please call 020 7549 2051.


Richard Whittington

Richard Whittington, Chief Executive Officer

Richard Whittington joined LOCSU as Assistant Director, Commissioning, in June 2016 from the NHS and was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in November 2016, then went on to be appointed as Chief Executive Officer in 2019.

He is an experienced CCG Director and Acute Trust Director with extensive commissioning and service redesign experience. He led the initial commissioning of primary care ophthalmic service across a range of South East London PCTs and CCGs.

Richard has worked in and across all healthcare and care sectors and has a particular expertise in service change, organisational change and commissioning service delivery.

Throughout his career Richard has delivered real service change with measurable patient benefits and as such he has a proven record of delivery across QIPP programmes.


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Zoe Richmond

Zoe Richmond, Interim Clinical Director

Zoe is an optometrist with considerable experience in service redesign, supporting the development of extended primary eyecare services across England.

Most recently this included the innovative new urgent eyecare service CUES, developed to support the immediate and recovery phase of the pandemic.

She joined LOCSU in 2011 and has a particular interest in service pathway development, and is leading a programme of work to continue to develop the Clinical Service Pathways Framework, extending the range of eye conditions which can be managed in local optical practices. As a member of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, Zoe works with eye health leaders to support the national agenda to improve eye health and eye care provision across England.

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Dharmesh Patel

Dharmesh Patel, Interim Clinical Director

Dharmesh joined the LOCSU team in 2012. He has unrivalled experience of service redesign and procurement and is particularly enthusiastic about the integration of primary care optometry as a core part of primary care and NHS care.

Dharmesh also has a substantive post as Chief Executive Officer of Primary Eyecare Services whilst remaining a committee member of Greater Manchester East LOC and Chairman of the Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board. Dharmesh is a former Chair of both GM LEHN and Eyecare Trust.

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Katrina Venerus

Katrina Venerus, Clinical Director

Currently on secondment to PCSE.

Richard Knight, Head of Policy

Richard Knight, Head of Policy

Richard joined LOCSU in July 2013 from a capital markets association, where he was Head of Policy.

Prior to this he worked for a FTSE 100 company specialising in international public sector reform. He holds a BA Hons and MSc and is currently studying part-time for a PhD.

Richard has a strong interest in political history which supports his work as LOCSU’s head of policy.


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Lisa Stonham

Lisa Stonham, Information Officer

Lisa has a background in the arts and joined LOCSU in 2016 from Orchestras Live, a national music charity who enable orchestral music to be performed in deprived areas of England.

Prior to this, she has worked for a range of not-for-profit organisations under many guises including grant administration, event management and business support.


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Jacque Fooks, Office Manager

Jacque Fooks, Office Manager

Joined LOCSU in January 2011 as Office Manager. Jacque previously worked as Education Coordinator at NHS South West Essex PCT for several years, coordinating training events for 400 staff based in GP Practice.

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Simone Mason

Simone Mason, Digital Learning Support Officer

Simone Mason is Digital Learning Support Officer leading support for CGPLs in the sector. Simone is a dispensing optician with more than 25 years’ experience and a member of Solihull LOC where she is a CGPL.

Simone is also ABDO sub-regional lead for the Midlands and The North of England. She holds a postgraduate certificate in Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals and, in March 2017, passed the LOCSU Clinical Governance and Performance Lead course.

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Max Halford

Max Halford, Optical Lead

Max is a Contact Lens Optician and accredited MECS practitioner working in the South West.

He is the Clinical Lead for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), and Chair of Devon Local Optical Committee. Max is also a Clinical Governance and Performance Lead and Director of his local Primary Eyecare Company and also sits on NHS England’s Local Eyecare Team Liaison Group.

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Tom Mackley

Tom Mackley, Optical Lead

Tom is an Optometrist working in both community and hospital settings in the North West, with a particular interest in glaucoma.

He is a director of Primary Eyecare Services and a Clinical Governance & Performance Lead for community eye care services in Morecambe Bay. Tom also sits on Lancashire & Morecambe Bay LOC.

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Richard Rawlinson

Richard Rawlinson, Optical Lead

Richard joined LOCSU in April 2016 and has a wide range of professional roles.

He is a Director of Primary Eyecare Services Ltd and a member of Greater Manchester East LOC as well as supporting the profession as the ABDO Regional Lead for The North of England, Midlands & Anglia. Richard also sits on the UK Domiciliary Eyecare Committee and is a registrant member to the GOC Investigation Committee and a GOC Case Examiner.

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Nizz Sabir

Nizz Sabir, Optical Lead

Nizz is an Independent Optometrist based in South Yorkshire. He has a keen passion for ophthalmic public health and is keen to develop the role of the profession in a sustainable health and care sector.

He is a WOPEC Lead Assessor, a Member of Rotherham and Barnsley LOC and a Chair of North and North East Lincs LOC. Nizz also works as a Clinical Governance and Performance Lead for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

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Amar Shah

Amar Shah, Optical Lead

Amar is an Optometrist, with his own Boots Opticians franchise on the outskirts of Bristol.

He works as a Specialist Optometrist at Bath Royal United Hospital and is also Chair of Avon Local Optical Committee. Amar is a trustee in the voluntary sector, is a school governor and works as a business consultant.

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Binal Patel

Binal Patel, Optical Lead

Binal is a locum Optometrist based in Essex with experience of working in both multiple and independent practices.

She is a member of the Essex LOC where she has developed a keen interest in promoting Primary Care Optometry.

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Helen Haslett

Helen Haslett, Optical Lead

Helen is an employee and shareholder for a Boots Opticians franchise.

She is the chair of Dorset LOC and a MECS assessor, as well as having experience in diabetic screening. Helen has a special interest in finding new ways to engage younger practitioners with their LOCs.

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