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General News, May - June 2015

Further erasure announced from GOC

Coventry-based optometrist suspended from GOC registers

Norville practice steps back in time

mee Healthcare goes down

New AOP Chairman elected

Prof. Nathan Efron receives Prestigious Honour

WCSM hosts the Four Liveries Lecture at Scientific Instrument Makers Hall

Nottinghamshire-based Dispensing Optician erased from GOC Register

Norville Opticians helps Gloucester Rugby supporters to keep their eyes on the ball

Kent-based dispensing optician erased from GOC registers

June 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has erased Kent-based dispensing optician Suzy Stonehouse from its registers.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found her fitness to practise impaired by virtue of misconduct following a conviction for four counts of fraud.

In making its decision the Committee, chaired by Peter North, noted that: “Erasure was appropriate as the offence was serious and likely to undermine public confidence in the profession and anything less was incompatible with the message to be sent to the public and the profession.

“The Committee did not believe that there was a risk of recurrence but the profession demands the highest standards and that those standards would be upheld by the Committee with an appropriate and proportionate sanction.”

Ms. Stonehouse is now unable to practise in the UK as a dispensing optician

Ms. Stonehouse has 28 days to appeal her erasure, during which time she is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

Coventry-based optometrist suspended from GOC registers

June 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has suspended Coventry-based optometrist Mathew Clarke from its registers.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by virtue of misconduct after failing to refer a patient despite finding visual field defects. The patient, who is registered blind, believed his sight could have been saved had these warning signs been spotted sooner.

In making its decision the Committee, chaired by Peter North, noted that: “The Committee has determined that the registrant remains a risk to the public and as such his fitness to practise is impaired. The Committee has also determined that in the circumstances of this particular case, the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment to practise were not made.

“The Committee considered that a 12-month suspension was proportionate and the minimum necessary in the circumstances. The Committee was mindful that the registrant has stated that he had retired and no longer intended to practise. However, the Committee decided to impose this sanction in order to protect the public and maintain public confidence.”

Clarke is now unable to practise in the UK as an optometrist until his period of suspension ends.

Clarke has 28 days to appeal his suspension, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

The full determination is available at

Norville practice steps back in time

June 2015

The ladies from Norville Opticians in Wotton-under-Edge stepped back in time last weekend as part of the town’s celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.


Norville Practice Magna CartaThe event was organised by the Wotton Historical Society and saw various community groups from Wotton and the surrounding area combine to transport the Chipping car park to the year 1215 to raise funds for Wotton’s Heritage Centre.


Dispensing Optician Sadie Tazewell (in blue) is pictured here with her receptionists (left to right) Margaret While and Margaret Nickols, Sadie’s daughter Iona and Hearing Aid Specialist Andrew Bird (right).

mee Healthcare too sick to resuscitate

mee shopfront

After the fanfare of the opening of the first branch in Leeds followed by a further 10, last one opening January 2014, the bell has finally been rung on what is unlikely to come  as a surprise to many who have or still worked there up till last Thursday.

Comments from anonymous staff who have been involved along the way have ranged from chaos in management, crazy stock pricing and a lack of a fundamental business plan.

To a person though they all remarked on the very smart shop fitting and design which surely contributed to an unconfirmed multi million loss which continued throughout its life. It would appear all staff have been required to sign an NDA so we have not asked and would not reveal names.

We have approached the FD now like all staff unemployed and asked for a company statement.

Gail Lese Allele FundThe losses could be in excess of £8 million but we may never know for sure.

We have had sight of a letter sent on the day of closure (18th June) to all staff members, followed by a conference call from the centres manager informing them of the termination of their contract of employment with immediate effect and pointing them for to presumably join a rather large queue for their salaries owed from the beginning of May. The letter is signed by the mee Healthcare Management Team, whoever they might be.

Much was made about Cherie Blair’s involvement but we have been informed that her investment and was negligible in the scheme of things and her involvement in management non-existent.

The CEO Dr Gail Lese has not commented but if nothing else must be complemented on her ability to continue to raise funds from investors oft from the USA to allow the company to continue for so long.

We understand that Dr Lese has returned to Boston USA but once again with the management team remaining silent we can only surmise.    

New AOP Chairman appointed

June 2015

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has appointed a new Chairman, optometrist Kevin Thompson. Mr Thompson took over the role from former Chairman, Lyndon Taylor, at the AOP AGM held in London on June 2, 2015.

Mr Thompson, owner of an optical group in the North East and elected onto the AOP Council in 2007, described his appointment as Chairman as “a huge honour and privilege.”

Lyndon Taylor and Kevein Thompson AOP

In a speech to members, Mr Thompson addressed the potential challenges and threats that face the membership and the sector, explaining: “My focus will be to ensure that the AOP, as the largest membership organisation in the sector, has a loud voice in influencing developments.”

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “It is with great pleasure I welcome Kevin Thompson to his new role as AOP Chairman. Kevin has some big shoes to fill as Lyndon has led us through a great period of change and improvement at the AOP. I am confident that Kevin’s experience in the optical sector, which is enhanced by his entrepreneurial credentials, perfectly places him to help lead the AOP into this exciting new chapter of challenge and opportunity.”

Following the presentation of the past Chairman badge of office to Mr Taylor, Mr Thompson said: “[Lyndon] has been a strong support to the AOP over many years and particularly as Chairman, and it is good to know that we will have access to his knowledge and experience for a while longer.”

Mr Taylor was also presented with honorary membership to the AOP at the AGM, in recognition of his years of outstanding service.

Professor Nathan Efron, AC made a Companion of the Order Of Australia

June 2015

Former BCLA President (1996-97) and Council Member (1992-99) Professor Nathan Efron been made a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australian Queen’s Birthday honours list. This is the highest national honour awarded to Australian citizens, and only eight such awards were made in the current round.

Prof Nathan Efron made CompanionProfessor Nathan Efron been honoured “for eminent service to medicine in the field of clinical optometry, particularly to vision correction and corneal physiology, as an academic, researcher and author, to the treatment of juvenile diabetes, and through executive roles with national and international professional organisations”.

“A highlight of my time in the UK was my involvement with the BCLA, serving on Council with a wonderful array of enthusiastic and motivated contact lens practitioners and industry representatives, and having the privelege of being elected for a term as President” said Professor Efron.

From 1990 to 2005 Professor Efron was Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester, serving as Head of Department from 1992-97. He was awarded Doctor of Science degree in 2005. Professor Efron established a contact lens research and consultancy unit known as Eurolens Research, and served senior roles in the university as Dean of Research, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Chairman of the Higher Doctorates awards committee.

Professor Efron is currently a Research Professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. He is also president of the Australian College of Optometry and Vice-President of the International Society for Contact Lens Research.

Professor Efron is a prolific author, having published over 350 refereed scientific papers and 500 clinical articles and abstracts. He has also published 16 books which have appeared in a total of 16 editions and foreign translations. He has been invited to speak at over 500 conferences in 42 countries throughout his career, and has won numerous major international research awards and prizes including the BCLA Medal (2001).

WCSM hosts the Four Livery Lectures at Scientific Instrument Makers Hall

May 2015

The Four Liveries Lecture is held each year and sponsored by four Livery Companies, namely, Scientific Instrument Makers, Lightmongers, Clockmakers and the Spectacle Makers.

This year the lecture was delivered by Prof. John Tyrer, entitled “Making light work for your Livery”

SMC hosts 4 Liveries lectureThe lecture examined some of the recent developments in laser technology pertinent to each of the 4 liveries.

The excellent lecture covered subjects on new real time laser measurement of laser surgical eye procedures, laser lights that are 30% more efficient than LEDs, new ways of laser-manufacturing clocks and new laser instruments being used for counter-terrorist operations.

Picture shows Prof. Tyrer next to the WCSM Master Christine Tompkins, with Philip Whyte the Master Clockmaker, Bill Wright, Deputy Master Lightmonger and Prof. Tony Wilson, Master Scientific Instrument Maker.

Next year’s lecture is set for September 2016 and will be held at the home of the Spectacle Makers, Apothecaries’ Hall.

Nottinghamshire-based dispensing optician erased from GOC registers

May 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has erased Nottinghamshire-based dispensing optician Tendai Moyo from its registers.

A GOC fitness to practise committee found her fitness to practise impaired by virtue of misappropriation of funds from her employer by way of fraudulent cash refunds.

In making its decision the committee, chaired by Lady Margaret Wall, noted that: “This was a prolonged and calculated defrauding of an employer by a Store Manager involving an abuse of trust. It was dishonesty which was covered up until discovered. There has been an evasion of the justice system. There has been a serious departure from professional standards. The misconduct in this case is fundamentally incompatible with remaining on the register, in light of the need to uphold proper professional standards and confidence in the profession.

“Not only has the Registrant evaded Court summons and an arrest warrant, but she has also shown a lack of engagement with the regulatory process. There is no evidence of any attempt to remediate her actions and omissions. Therefore, as a result, the Committee has concluded that the Registrant is liable in the future to bring the profession into disrepute, breach fundamental tenets and act dishonestly.”

Moyo is now unable to practise in the UK as a dispensing optician.

Moyo has 28 days to appeal her erasure, during which time she is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

Norville Opticians helps Gloucester Rugby supporters to keep their eyes on the ball

May 2015

Supporters of Gloucester Rugby can win every time with Norville Opticians as part of a unique eye care partnership agreed between the two organisations at the end of last year.
The leading independent chain of opticians which has 11 practices in and around Gloucestershire is providing eye care for the players and staff, sponsorship of Gloucester Rugby TV: the club’s online video channel and now discounted spectacles and sunglasses to the fans.

As part of the new partnership, Norville Opticians visited the Kingsholm Stadium time to meet Club Members for the first and to raise awareness of the importance of eye health: explaining the need for everyone to have sight checks every two years.

They also highlighted how many diseases and serious conditions can be diagnosed by a simple eye examination before they become apparent to the patient.

Adrian Street, Director of Norville Opticians and himself a keen supporter of the club is very excited by this development.

Speaking from Gloucester Rugby’s Club Members’ Suite at their latest home match he said: “We are very proud to have this link with another historic Gloucester brand by providing the club and its supporters with the latest vision technology for their spectacles and eye health.”

He added: “Gloucester Rugby’s supporters cover all ages and with recent reports that short-sightedness among young people has doubled over the past 50 years with indoor teaching and heavy computer use getting most of the blame (see Notes to Editors) it is more important than ever for everyone regardless of their age to look after their eyes.”
Image shows: Norville Opticians Director Adrian Street showing young Gloucester Rugby fan Ben Sherbourne some of the latest photochromic sunglasses which will protect his eyes from the sun’s harmful radiation


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