More than 2,700 professional optometry staff have attended a Specsavers clinical conference this year. 

The opticians' popular Professional Advancement Conference, now in its 19th year, took to the road this year in the form of a number of regional ‘Mini PAC’ events, alongside its annual flagship event in Birmingham – allowing more Specsavers practitioners than ever to benefit from the interactive learning.

The main PAC event, which took place in October, was still extremely well attended with over 1,500 optician delegates – including, for the first time, practitioners from Specsavers Healthcall, the company’s domiciliary arm. Ten different halls at the ICC in Birmingham were utilised to offer an impressive programme of lectures, workshops and peer discussions.

A further 1,200-plus practitioners took advantage of the Mini PAC events at locations around the UK and Republic of Ireland – which proved so popular that plans are already in place for a similar roadshow next year.

In all cases, different tracks were tailored to different practitioner groups with a strong focus on workshop based sessions and group/peer discussion. Topics included:

  • helping customers with low vision,
  • success factors for contact lens fitting,
  • paediatric glasses dispensing,
  • improving communication 
  • and advanced clinical skills workshops.

Paul Carroll, Specsavers’ director of professional services, said that the PAC as a brand continued to go from strength to strength.

‘With over 1,200 professional staff having already attend the MiniPAC events earlier in the year – and with our pre-reg optometrist programme moving to a different date – we were prepared for numbers at the main conference to be down on previous years, and yet we still had delegate numbers that other conferences only dream of.

‘Clearly practitioners really enjoy getting out of their stores, meeting up with colleagues from different practices and taking part in this kind of interactive learning – and rolling out our ‘Mini PAC’ events alongside the annual October conference has allowed even more people to do just that.’

Dr Nicole Carnt talking at Specsavers professional advancement conference in 2014

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