LOCSU recruiting a new optical lead during “busy but exciting time for optometry”

Applications from “experienced and enthusiastic individuals from the eye health sector” are being sought

meeting with people

The Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) is looking for a new optical lead, to join the organisation on a work-from-home basis.

The role will involve “supporting Local Optical Committees (LOCs) across a range of projects and activities including service development, connectivity evolution and engagement with current NHS reforms,” LOCSU said.

The organisation is looking for an “experienced and enthusiastic individual from the eye health sector” to take on the role, which will work within a wider team of established optical leads.

Whilst the bulk of the role will be remote, the new optical lead will be required to attend evening meetings and support their localities as required.

A minimum of eight days will be required per month, and the successful candidate will be paid a day rate, which LOCSU describes as “competitive.”

As the support unit for LOCs around the country, LOCSU’s work includes lobbying, pathway development, commissioning support, governance and compliance support, communication and training.

LOCSU has emphasised that the successful candidate will have a proven track record of credible leadership in the optical sector, and the ability to engage a range of stakeholders and develop productive and collaborative partnerships.

A passion for extending the scope of services delivered in primary care, as well as the potential for reshaping the primary optical landscape in its delivery of extended services, is also required, as is the ability to provide effective support for LOCs, including identifying opportunities, and aiding discussion and negotiation with different commissioning and delivery systems.

The ability to support LOCs in navigating NHS reforms over the next one-two years, a strong working knowledge of commissioning structures, extended primary eye care services, and public health, first-rate communication and interpersonal skills, excellent writing and networking skills, and the ability to multi-task and rapidly pull together high-quality reports, have also been flagged as important.

LOCSU’s clinical director, Zoe Richmond, said: “It’s a very busy but exciting time for optometry, and LOCs are at the forefront of the change.

“Through the work of LOCSU and the National Eyecare Recovery and Transformation programme, primary eye care’s contribution to both recovery and the transformation of eye care services is better understood, but implementation needs to happen locally. The optical lead team provides a vital role in delivering operational support to LOCs and their members.”

She added: “At the same time, the most significant legislative reform to the NHS since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is upon us. This brings both opportunity and challenge to LOCs. The changes should make it easier for health and care organisations to deliver joined-up care, but LOC workload is also increasing as they need to engage, at multiple levels, with more organisations. LOCSU’s optical leads are on hand to help LOCs navigate the new structures.”

She concluded that LOCSU is “looking for an enthusiastic individual with excellent communication and interpersonal skills, ideally with a working knowledge of LOCs.”

Fionnuala Kidd (pictured above), a current optical lead at LOCSU, encouraged interested candidates to apply for the position.

“If you are thinking about applying, just go for it,” she said. “It has genuinely been the best thing I've ever done, professionally. The work is varied, challenging, and entirely different to a practice day.”

She added: “The mix of practice and LOCSU keeps me busy, but also positive about the future of our profession. It’s an exciting time to be in optometry and there is a buzz from working with LOCs and seeing things improve. The LOCSU team are so knowledgeable and welcoming; it’s a really great environment to work in.”

Those who want to apply should send their CV and a cover letter outlining why they want to become an optical lead, highlighting specific skills and experience, to [email protected]

For an informal conversation about the role, potential candidates are encouraged to contact Zoe Richmond by emailing [email protected] or phoning the LOCSU office on 020 7549 2051.

More information can also be found on OT’s jobs listing.

Applications close on Friday 10 June, and interviews will be held in London on the Thursday 23 or Friday 24 June.