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AOP Councillors

There are 34 AOP Councillors. In the new Council structure which comes into force June 2021:

  • 14 Councillors are elected to represent AOP members in their geographical constituencies* across the UK
  • 20 designated Councillors represent particular membership groups and demographics

In the 2021 Council elections, two candidates tied for first place in Yorkshire and the Humber and have therefore both joined Council. This means that in 2021 there are 34 members on AOP Council and not the usual 33 members.

* Your Councillor/ voting geographical constituency is determined by the address you have chosen for your AOP communications. You can review this address in the 'My details' section of your My AOP profile. Click 'edit details' to find your address details under 'Communication preferences'.

You can contact AOP Councillors on the AOP Community online forums, via the links below.

Councillors by Geographical constituency

East of England

Postcodes covered: AL, CB, CM, CO, IP, LU, MK, NR, PE, SG, SS, WD

About Emma Spofforth

I am an optometrist working in an independent opticians. Therapeutics, enhanced services and expanding our profession are my particular interests.

Supporting practitioners to do what they are trained to do, whether it's working in a small indie, or a large multiple, or within the constraints of the NHS, is the most important issue facing the profession.

As a Councillor, I enjoy interaction within both the whole Council and the smaller committees as I feel we do make a difference. I also enjoy spreading the word about what the AOP can do for its members.

East Midlands

Postcodes covered: DE, LE, LN, NG, NN

About Tushar Majithia

I am an optometrist and managing director of an independent group of practices in Lincolnshire. I have served on the Council since 2014 and in 2018, I was elected on to Board. My main professional interest in optometry are low vision and contact lenses.

I think that the most important issues facing the profession are the threat of online retailers and the development of technology.

Joining the Council has enabled me to have a voice in shaping the future direction of the profession and helped me to build strong professional relationships across the sector. I am passionate about independent practice and would like to use my experience to support this sector.

London

Postcodes covered: BR, CR, DA, E, EC, EN, HA, IG, N, NW, RM, SE, SM, SW, TW, UB, W, WC

North East England

Postcodes covered: DH, DL1-5, DL12-17, DL98, NE, SR, TS

About Angela Henderson

I work in independent practice in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I am also an NHS England Clinical Advisor and assessor for The College of Optometrists. I have worked in multiple and hospital settings and as a locum.

Interests include Ortho K, myopia control and dry eyes, professional standards, governance and assurance. The profession needs to promote the untapped skills of our workforce and ensure we are used in disease detection, monitoring and management to serve the needs of an ageing population. I have enjoyed my time on the Policy committee. We need more people working in practice to get involved to ensure we get a balanced view and more collaborative working.

North West England

Postcodes covered: BB, BL, CA, CH1-4, CH10-70, CH99, CW, FY, IM, L, LA, M, OL, PR, SK, WA, WN

South East England

Postcodes covered: BN, CT, GU, HP, KY, ME, OX, PO, RG, RH, SL, SO, TN

About Rachel Hiscox

I am an optometrist working full-time for Johnson & Johnson Vision as a Professional Educational & Development Manager.

I am interested in all aspects of contact lens practice, communication and Optical Coherence Tomography.

The professional landscape of optometry is changing, with an ageing population and an over-stretched hospital eye service. Expanding the role of the optometrist would not only offer improved patient care, but also increase the scope of the optometrist. Working to forward this is a key challenge, along with ensuring any services are adequately funded to reflect the cost and experience of primary care optometrists.

South West England

Postcodes covered: BA, BH, BS, DT, EX, GL, GY, JE, PL, SN, SP, TA, TQ

About Ed Bickerstaffe

I work on the High Street for a small independent group in Wiltshire. I also triage ophthalmology referrals from the High Street and GPs into secondary care on behalf of the clinical commissioning group. I enjoy seeing patients in a primary care setting and helping them achieve the best visual outcome with a range of appliances.

Optics is forever evolving. We need to ensure optometrists can effectively practice to the best of their ability. Having been involved in the AOP from my student days through committees, Council and the Board, I would strongly encourage people to get involved when the time is right for them. It’s rewarding and you can make a difference.

West Midlands

Postcodes covered: B, CV, DY, HR, ST, SY1-8, SY11-15, TF, WR, WS, WV

About Francesca Marchetti

I am a self-employed independent optometrist. I work on the High Street with both independents and multiples, and at a private eye hospital. I occasionally do some work for Aston University.

I love dealing with everything dry eye related and mentoring and coaching in a work environment.

Competition, competition, competition. With AI and internet sales increasing, our role as a "jobbing optometrist" is both a threat and a challenge. We need to embrace these new challenges and stand united to ensure we will have a profession in years to come.

I absolutely love being on AOP Council. It has allowed me to advance our profession and engage with people I would never have had the opportunity to meet and mingle with.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Postcodes covered: BD, DL6-11, DN, HD, HG, HU, HX, LS, S, WF, YO

About Stewart Mitchell

I work in a small independent practice in the centre of Bradford.  The practice is a partnership so I understand the pressures juggling between optometry and running a profitable business. I do specialist contact lens work, Semi-Scleral, RGP and specialist soft contact lenses, but have a keen interest in the clinical role we play, managing and deflecting referrals into secondary care. An important issue is maintaining clinical skills when the financial model we work to fails to address the cost of our professional time.

I’ve really enjoyed being involved with the trialling of primary care support England online. Sadly not in its design, but in its testing.

Northern Ireland

Postcodes covered: BT

Scotland

Postcodes covered: AB, DD, DG, EH, FK, G, HS, IV, KA, KW, KY, ML, PA, PH, TD, ZE

About Eilidh Martin

I am a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University. My focus is teaching contact lenses and dry eye alongside research on the ocular surface and lid margin. I am also module leader on the IP course. The most important issue is our expanding role as optometrists and how we can take the burden off the over-stretched hospital eye service. I have found my first term as an AOP Councillor very interesting. It is great to feel you are making a difference within the profession. I would encourage anyone to get involved with the AOP no matter what stage of your career, you will make a valuable contribution.

About Stephanie Kearney

I work at Glasgow Caledonian as a lecturer, within a myopia management clinic and as part of the CHAMP-UK (Childhood Atropine for Myopia Progression) research team. I also work as a locum optometrist at weekends.

Myopia management is a large part of my role as a researcher and also as an optometrist. As an independent prescribing optometrist I enjoy therapeutically managing patients in practice.

Balancing significant workloads, optometrists are increasingly involved in shared care schemes and therapeutic management of patients whilst often working in a commercial environment. I would like to see increased investment to reflect the increasing specialism of optometry.

Wales

Postcodes covered: CF, CH5-8, LD, LL, NP, SA, SY9-10 , SY16-28

About Kamaljit Kalsi

I am an experienced optometrist based in Wales since 1999. My current role is Professional Services Optometrist for a leading domiciliary provider, ‘Outside Clinic’.

My current responsibilities include carrying out eye examinations and I am also office-based and support over 80 optometrists, alongside undertaking Quality Assurance procedures as part of the Professional Services team.

I am passionate about the domiciliary sector and believe it is highly rewarding. Equally, I am proud of the Welsh Government’s promotion of eye health.

I would intend to promote the profession across Wales but also the domiciliary sector including within our Universities and the wider public.

About James Brawn

I currently split myself between three roles: Research optometrist at the University Hospital of Wales, ad hoc tutor for WOPEC, and as a self-employed locum. My primary interests are in paediatric optometry, and optometric education.

The upcoming changes to the education and training of future optometrists is the most important issue for the profession. It is imperative that the next generation of optometrists are highly skilled clinicians. With increasing numbers of optometrists now working part time, or as locums, I would like to improve engagement between these groups and the AOP.

Designated Council members

Dispensing opticians

Domiciliary care optometrists

About Paul Chapman-Hatchett

I am managing director for Care Opticians, a domiciliary opticians. We provide comprehensive eye care to individuals who are unable to attend the high street for their eye care.

I am always looking at ways to improve the quality of care to our patients; ensuring that we maintain and drive up our clinical standards, embrace technology and maximise all primary care pathways available to our patients.

As our population ages, we need to raise the awareness of the roles, skills and expanding scope a domiciliary optometrist can have in providing GOS and ophthalmology services in a community setting.

As domiciliary continues to grow, we need to help support and shape professional standards and development of optometrists working in this sector and ensure housebound individuals have the same right to access high quality eye care as the wider population.

Directors of independent practices

Directors of multiple practices

About Mehul Patel

I am a managing director of a multiple franchise practice in Kent. I have worked as an OSCE examiner for WOPEC and presented multiple dry eye seminars to the profession.

My other interests are glaucoma management, myopia control and my practice actively promotes provision of enhanced services and independent prescribing.

The development and extension of enhanced services, embracing technological advances in eye care, and enhancing professional skills will form the substrate from which the profession meets future challenges.

I would like to make a change to the profession around the COVID ways of working and support optometrists and multiple owners in their work. The AOP platform can bring this together and support different groups.

Franchisee / Joint Venture Partner optometrists

Hospital optometrists

About Jasmin Kaur Matharu

I currently work as a specialist optometrist at Central Middlesex Hospital in North West London and I locum in Greater London. I am involved in paediatrics, glaucoma, specialist contact lenses and post and pre-operative cataract clinic.

My professional interests are independent prescribing and myopia control.

Bridging the gap between high street and hospital optometry and creating awareness for professional development as optometry continues to diversify are the most important issues for the profession.

Independent prescribing optometrists

About Fatima Nawaz

I work as a self-employed IP optometrist in both independents and multiples in the West Midlands. I am a LOC member and do some domiciliary work. I also teach with OptomAcademy.

My professional interests include glaucoma, paediatric eye care and consulting.

I think the most important issue facing our profession is understanding how to adapt our services to keep up to date with our surroundings.

As Councillor, I enjoy being part of a network that allows me to help structure our profession. I am able to liaise with people in charge and ensure important changes are beneficial to our profession.

Locum optometrists

About Kris Cottier

Freelance and locum optometrist in Kent and South East London. Before Covid, I am working with Collett Opticians.

My interests are MECS, therapeutics and education. Due to covid, I am now consulting many MECS patients, some of these patients have significant ocular pathology. I am upgrading my DipTP(AS) to become an independent prescriber.

I am passionate about further professional education and the upskilling of optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Covid has highlighted to the Hospital Eye Service (HES) that optometrists are highly skilled professionals in the provision of minor eye conditions services and urgent eye-care service (MECS and CUES). We are seeing a willingness of the HES to engage with our profession in the long term co-management of HES patients.

The past year has been a challenge to the profession in general and I welcome the opportunity to highlight the ongoing challenges of freelance and locum work.

University lecturers

Newly-qualified optometrists and Early career optometrists

Employees of independent practices

About Josie Evans

I work in an independent practice conducting eye examinations, contact lens appointments and examining patients with acute eye conditions under the minor eye conditions scheme.

My areas of interest are the management of myopia progression through specialist contact lenses, paediatric optometry and glaucoma.

It is important to expand the range and extent of eye conditions managed in community practice, ideally through a national scheme to eliminate a ‘postcode lottery’ for patients.

I really enjoy my role as Councillor; seeing how much work occurs behind the scenes to promote the profession and support individuals. It is great to see AOP members’ thoughts so highly valued.

Employees of multiple practices

About Karan Vyas

I work at Specsavers Opticians in Corby as the lead optometrist and a pre-reg supervisor. I am currently working towards my IP qualification and take a keen interest in glaucoma and paediatric optometry.

The education of future optometrists along with the remit and role of optometrists in the UK are the two large questions in front of the profession. NHS reforms will change the role of the profession and the way eye care services are provided in England. Other professional issues around demands on professionals as well as issues of race and discrimination are challenges which require solutions.

Pre-registration optometrists

About Luke McRoy-Jones

I am currently a pre-registration optometrist, working for a small independent group of practices in South Wales. I have been on the AOP Council for two years and during that time, I’ve also sat on Policy Committee and chaired our Student Committee.

I thoroughly enjoy working in a representative position, communicating member views from across the profession to inform member services and policy positions.

The landscape of optometry education is set to change rapidly over the next few years. It is therefore essential that we engage with our profession and education providers to shape our future clinicians.

Undergraduate student optometrists

About Inderpal Ghuman

I am in my 2nd year of optometry at Aston University whilst working part-time as an optical assistant.

I plan on obtaining further professional qualifications, such as certificates in medical retina and glaucoma to equip myself with the necessary skills to offer an enhanced level of specialised care.

I am interested to see the overhaul of optometric education and the implementation of the Education Strategic Review which is due to start from 2023/24. The incoming 2021 cohort of optometry students will see the tangible overlap with their studies.

I will conscientiously gather the thoughts and feelings of students on topical issues to ensure the student voice will be heard and acted upon.