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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 unparalleled experience in service redesign, supporting the development of extended primary eye care services across England.  In 2020 this included the innovative urgent eyecare service CUES; developed to support the immediate and recovery phase of the pandemic.

With 25 years’ experience in independent practice, she believes primary care optometry has more to offer than sight testing and case-finding alone and has previously worked as a LEHN chair and NHS Optometric Adviser promoting the role of Optometry locally.

She joined LOCSU in 2011 to pursue her 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 optometric practice.

Recently elected Vice-chair 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.

Most recently she has joined the NHSE/I National Eye Care Recovery and Transformation programme to provide optometry clinical leadership for pathway improvement.


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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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Alvaro Borges

Alvaro Borges, Optical Lead

Alvaro is an Optometrist based in the South-West. He has international work and academic experience and is fluent in several languages.

In his career, he has undertaken a variety of roles within Optometry having worked in domiciliary, independent and multiple practices including directorship and company management. He’s currently LOC Chair for Gloucestershire and has a strong resolve in reducing health inequalities in eye care.

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Sarvat Fida

Sarvat (Bobby) Fida, Optical Lead

Bobby is a Resident Optometrist at Asda Opticians with experience of working as a Clinical Lead for Optical Compliance at Asda’s Head Office.

In the past she has also worked part-time as a Locum Optometrist in the independent sector and for HMP. Bobby is a Hearings Panel Member for the General Optical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee and a Committee member for Wakefield Local Optical Committee.

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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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Fionnuala Kidd

Fionnuala Kidd, Optical Lead

Fionnuala a community-based optometrist currently working for a multiple. She’s previously worked in a variety of independents and multiples across the North of England.

As a pre reg supervisor Fionnuala has a keen interest in training and development.  She’s currently a member of Cheshire LOC and says she’s an ardent supporter of all aspects of shared care.

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Julia Maiden

Julia Maiden, Optical Lead

Is an Optometrist based in Greater Manchester currently working for ASDA Opticians with previous experience of working in the independent sector.

She completed the Leadership Skills course for Optical Professionals in 2018 and since then has developed her leadership skills through the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care primary care provider board structure. She has been the Chair of Ashton Leigh and Wigan LOC since 2014.

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Richard Rawlinson

Richard Rawlinson, Optical Lead

Richard is a Dispensing Optician and joined LOCSU in April 2016.

He has  a wide range of other professional roles including ABDO Regional Lead, GOC Case Examiner and Trustee Director at  Vision Aid Overseas.

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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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