Key milestones

Eye care for all

OT  speaks to Maurice Livesey, Specsavers Healthcall’s director of operations, about the growing domiciliary arm of Specsavers

Alan Myers and Frank Magill

01 Specsavers initially acquired Healthcall in the summer of 2013 because it felt that the concept was a great strategic fit with its vision and values, which are about being able to offer affordable eye care to everyone.

As a domiciliary service, Healthcall is an extension of the Specsavers brand and means that we can continue to see our customers, who we have provided eye care to for many years, who can no longer come into our stores – they can continue to benefit from Specsavers’ great value and service.

Having a domiciliary arm is also something that sets Specsavers apart from our competition – no one else in High Street optics can see their customers in this manner.

02 We are celebrating entering our fifth year as a domiciliary provider this year, which is officially at the end of July.

Since 2013, we have experienced double-digit growth year-on-year, and continue to do so. In 2016/17, we saw more than a 35% increase. 

While Specsavers Healthcall as a company has grown three-fold over the last five years, we have also grown in employee and partnership numbers. Today we have more than 90 domiciliary joint venture partners (dJVPs) across 50 businesses and over 300 employees. 

In the last 12 months we have opened Specsavers Healthcall in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, allowing us to be able to say that we truly cover all of the UK and Ireland. We are now the market leading domiciliary provider in the UK and Ireland. 

All dJVPs have postcodes that they cover and that is based on population size and logistics of being able to travel around those areas because it is important for us to be able to see our customers for both the eye test and aftercare in a timely manner. 

Our dJVPs also work very closely with our optics and hear-care partners to make sure that Specsavers delivers a completely joined up service in their local towns. 

"Today we have more than 90 domiciliary joint venture partners (dJVPs) across 50 businesses and over 300 employees"

03 Since the summer of 2013, we have visited over 350,000 people, and have delivered that using a fleet of 100-plus liveried cars.

This year alone we will see another 150,000 customers, either in their own home or care homes. 

We want to see these people in their own homes for as long as possible because we know that living in your own home is important for people in terms of independence. 

Statistics tell us that there are over one million housebound people who are eligible to access domiciliary services who currently do not access this service that they deserve. Therefore, it is our mission and passion to change the lives of those one million people who could benefit from accessing this service by raising awareness.

We survey the general public on a regular basis and their awareness of the service, including Specsavers Healthcall, is increasing. It’s increasing through relatives going into store and realising that we offer this service, for example. We have also run a lot of national press to support this. 

04 With an ever-ageing population growing, the domiciliary marketplace and its potential is a huge one.

By combining first-class optometry with a great service, we are making a real difference to the lives of the people that we visit. 

There are a huge number of opportunities all over the country for qualified optometrists to join us in domiciliary as the business continues to grow. There are opportunities for employed optometrists, for JVPs and for dispensing opticians. 

05. Working in domiciliary is very interesting for our clinicians because they get to see a wide range of eye conditions in the patients they visit.

It also means that they get to utilise their core skills and thrive as clinicians on a daily basis. 

The beauty of working in domiciliary is also that it lends itself to part-time working and flexible hours, with many of our optometrists choosing to work in this setting for three or four days a week. Being part of Specavers means that uniquely we can offer employees the opportunity to work within the group in a dual role. Practitioners can do some days in domiciliary and some days on the High Street on a regular basis. What it gives the optometrist is variety, new skills and great job satisfaction.