More than 200 optical assistants at Specsavers have completed training as clinical technicians, qualified to carry out extra duties. 

The scheme takes learners through diagnostic information gathering and pre-assessment procedures, working under optometrist supervision. Michelle Wilks, from the Headingley practice in Leeds, West Yorkshire, was the 201st graduate.

Michelle says: “It gives you so much more understanding and I am able to support the clinics even better than before. I was already competent in performing delegated duties, but now I have an even better understanding, which helps me communicate in a jargon-free way to patients”. 

Monica Kaur, from the same store, was number 200. She enjoyed the confidence it gave her in pre-screening. “It taught me how to better set up patients to ensure we capture great OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) images, first time,” she says.

OCT creates 3D images, helping eyecare professionals to spot the warning signs of serious conditions including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

The course “has also given me the skills to help train colleagues in pre-screening,” Monica adds. “The skills it has given me are transferable and I feel ready for the next learning opportunity.”

Headlingley Specsavers optometry partner Kanwaljit Singh says: “Monica and Michelle’s confidence with explaining the benefit of OCT and capturing images has grown considerably and this has directly impacted both patient understanding and quality of results.” 

The scheme – launched in April 2022 – enables tasks to be delegated safely to the clinical technician. This is in line with the General Optical Council’s requirement that tasks are only delegated to those with the “knowledge or skills to perform the delegated activity”.

Pictured: Russell Peake, Specsavers head of clinical performance with clinical technicians Monica Kaur and Michelle Wilks and Headingley store partner Kanwaljit Singh 

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