Winner: Lunettes Opticians
The high standards and community engagement of Lunetes Opticians have helped the independent practice to expand and flourish since first opening in April 2012.
Established in Ruskington, one of the largest villages in Lincolnshire, success was not always guaranteed for Lunettes Opticians, with a previous practice in the village failing in 2011. However, practice owner, Tushar Majithia, saw potential in the location, saying: “We felt we were well placed to provide a convenient, accessible location for the residents of the village.”
Mr Majithia’s intuition was proved right and, with dedication and hard work from the team, the practice became a success — moving to larger premises in 2015. This move allowed the practice to invest in new technology and expand its services.
Lunettes Opticians now fulfils a vital role in the area, according to Mr Majithia: “Our practice is ideally placed to offer the rural community a range of services, including low vision, contact lenses, OCT scans, GOS 18 triage, and treat community pathway,” he says.
Referrals into the practice’s low vision and minor eye conditions services from sensory services, GPs, hospitals and fellow optometrists has also played a part in its success and has resulted in these clinics increasing from two to three-and-a-half days per week.
In addition to providing extensive services and treatment options for patients, the practice has sought to engage with the local community in order to grow its patient base. Initiatives include visiting local schools and inviting classes to the practice for educational visits, as well as working with other patient groups. Mr Majithia explains: “We participate in local groups, such as the Macular Society meetings, where our staff provide information and advice to the general public.”
The practice ensures it participates in national awareness raising campaigns, including National Eye Health Week. “We hold open days where the public are invited into the practice for a chat and a slice of (healthy) cake,” says Mr Majithia.M
Reflecting on the practice’s success, Mr Majithia firmly believes that its reputation has been its greatest asset as a young practice. He says: “We are a familiar face for many in the village and we are really beginning to feel part of the community.”
Finalist: Eyecare Anywhere
Barbara Watson’s community practice on wheels, Eyecare Anywhere, provides flexible care to patients across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
Eyecare Anywhere provides services to both domiciliary patients and busy professionals. Working with, sometimes, terminally ill patients, Ms Watson says: “To be able to improve their vision and increase their quality of life, even for a short time, is very humbling.”
Finalist: I Care Opticians
Established to meet local needs, I Care Opticians has become a central part of the community in which it is based in Portrush.
The independent was opened by Stephen Vandevyer in April 2014 with the aim of providing a service for local residents of all ages. He explains: “I designed the practice to be very accessible — that was my reason for doing it.”