Meet The Team – Max Halford, Optical Lead
24 May 2022
An economic crisis in the early 90’s led Max to a lifechanging decision. In his own words he says he was: “happily working away in banking and finance” when uncertainty in the industry led him to a stark realisation. He explains: “I decided a career change might be a good idea if I wanted a roof over my head”. Looking back on his decision he says if he’d stayed in banking he’d have probably been “bored for 25 years”! Instead, Max has been anything but bored.
A contact lens optician and accredited MECS practitioner Max is based in the South-West of England. He says: “When I looked to change careers into optics the company, I applied to didn’t have any London vacancies so asked me to choose somewhere else, he continues, “I chose the place I would most like to go on holiday to and therefore ended up in Devon.”
Even though he’s based in Devon Max works mainly with LOCs in the South-East and East of England, something he enjoys: “it’s great as it allows us to take the learnings and opportunities from each area to try and make things in eyecare work better – at least that’s the theory of it!”
LOCs have been a part of Max’s professional life for many years. He explains: “I got involved with Devon LOC years ago when a colleague suggested I attend a meeting to see what went on. I was then mentored by a LOC member which was a great start and ended up quite a bit later being the Chair for 6 years”. On his decision to become a LOCSU optical lead he says: “I just saw it as a natural progression to lots of the work I was trying to do as an LOC chair – but across a bigger area.”
At this time Max also took on the role of Clinical Lead for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians: “the two roles dovetail well together as both involve workforce clinical development and eye care professionals using their skills to provide the best possible patient care”
Away from his busy professional life Max is married with four children (all girls) – the eldest works out in Singapore and the youngest is still at home.
Being a financial man originally, you’d expect him to know a thing or two about investments and Max jokes that his best one ever is his office “a log cabin at the bottom of my garden!”. It’s the garden that occupies most of his time when not on zoom and team calls at work.
Like most people in the industry the pandemic hit Max hard, but he says he’s taking positives from the experience: “Professionally I saw clinics shut down but a real step change in the services offered where they remained open, with the value of CUES and MECS truly being recognised within primary care. There have been lots of valuable lessons learnt, in particular the recognition that dispensing opticians and optometrists are a hugely underused resource in eyecare.”
So, for now Max is determined to use his considerable experience promoting primary eye care and its role in improving eye health, but he has another change in direction on the horizon and this one will be where the wind takes him. He explains: “I want to sail the world when I retire so I spend my time off dreaming about this whist I’m out in the garden.”