Audiology spotlight: Birkenhead

Before we start talking about your practice, can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming an Audiology Partner at Specsavers:
I’m a qualified contact lens optician. Our audiology business opened in 2005 but my first real involvement came in 2008 when I took over the running of our new NHS AWP contract. My role expanded when we were awarded an AQP contract in 2013, and now my optical work takes a bit of a back seat.

How would you describe the team in your Audiology business?
Our team benefits from the wealth of expertise of our senior and more experienced Audiologists, as well as the energy and drive of our newly-qualified staff, trainees and support team. We all support each other and we like to have fun doing so.

How have you supported the career development of Audiologists in your business?
We are an accredited Platinum Employer. Our Audiologists are supported by local and regional training events to update or consolidate their learning. We have also trained student Audiologists to full registration and even our Senior Audiologist to Clinical Lead.

How is your store driving forward Audiology in your local community?
We are the largest provider of NHS Adult Audiology services in Wirral and we operate from seven locations, bringing the service closer to the communities we serve. I have personally presented education sessions to 60+ community GPs and their support staff on the subject of adult audiology right across the borough.

Both our audiology and optical businesses have excellent relationships with the local health community.

How would you describe the patient base of your business?
We serve patients from every sector of the community, from socially-deprived downtown areas to the very leafy suburbs.

What clinical and technological advances has your business introduced?
When we opened our first NHS community audiology service in 2008, we were determined to make it the best service in the UK. We developed and implemented revolutionary service enhancements to improve the experience of patients on an NHS journey. One-stop test and fit, battery replenishment by mail, rehab by phone and walk-in support 7 days a week originated in this practice.

Describe the culture of your Specsavers business in three words:
Excellence, honesty and innovation.

What advice would you give an Audiologist looking to join Specsavers?
Always look to develop yourself. New opportunities develop all the time, be prepared to embrace new ideas and concepts. With commitment, you can climb as high as you want.

Finally, what does your business have planned for the future?
Next year, we plan to start one colleague in a recognised HCA qualification journey. Additionally, our trainee Audiologist will pass his Year One exams, we will take on an Apprentice and progress them to RHAD and our new Service Manager has plans to qualify at the Institute of Learning and Management.

We will also grow our new dedicated microsuction clinic under the care of our colleague, who is a Registered General Nurse with microsuction qualifications.

Our combined Optical and Audiology team is behind an exciting initiative to become the recognised Specsavers Centre of Excellence for our region. This will put us at the forefront of customer service advancement, helping Specsavers develop service and technology solutions for the future.

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