Optometrists Rupesh Bagdai and Dharmesh Patel believe there are wide range of reasons why practitioners of all ages and experience levels should join their local optical committee (LOC).
For Mr Bagdai, chair of Cheshire Local Eye Health Network and a commissioning lead for LOCSU, being involved in his LOC has enable him to develop his skill set and allowed him to experience a range of roles within the profession.
“It has developed me as a person and as an individual. It has also open opportunities up for myself as well,” he said.
When peers ask Mr Patel, chair of Greater Manchester Local Eye Health Network, why he does his role, he replies that, just like many of his colleagues on LOCs up and down the country, he is passionate about what he does. “They are passionate about eye care being of really high quality and they are passionate about not just being respected for what they do, but actually utilised to their maximum skill set,” he said.
Chief operating officer at the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), Richard Whittington, as well as Mr Bagdai and Mr Patel, are keen to emphasise that as the profession experiences change, it is key for LOCs to have representatives of all ages and experience levels.
“It is about that change and it is about being at the centre of maximising your skill set. What we need for that is young optometrists who are newly-qualified and have fresh new ideas to bring those fresh new ideas through to the LOCs – that is why we do need and want newly-qualified optometrists and students to be actively engaged in this programme to add to the breath of knowledge that is there,” Mr Patel said.
Reflecting on his professional experiences with, Mr Whittington highlighted: “[We know through working in the NHS] the only consistent is inconsistency and change, and we need to be able adapt to that. That involves old thinking and new thinking, people with experience and people with little experience but new ideas. I see the LOCs, and LOCSU supporting the LOCs, as the engine room and the drive for that.”