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Association News
26 July 2016
Issue 187
ABDO board - Election of directors 2016

At the closing date for nominations on 9 June 2016 the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) had four candidates validly nominated for election to the board.

On 13 July Anthony Blackman accepted a new role at ABDO College and has subsequently withdrawn from the election.

Therefore a ballot will not take place in 2016 and the three new board members, duly elected to serve for a period of three years, will be:

  • Kevin Gutsell
  • Daryl Newsome
  • Rupesh Patel

Daryl Newsome and Rupesh Patel are joining the board for the first time, with Kevin Gutsell returning to the board after an absence of two years.

The three new board members will attend the ABDO board meeting on 30 September 2016.

Kevin Gutsell
Daryl Newsome
Rupesh Patel
New WCSM Education Trust bursary scheme
New bursaries of £1,000 each are being launched for the next academic year by the WCSM Education Trust, a charity founded by the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers to support optical training and education.

The bursaries will be available to those starting on optical training courses. Applications will be accepted straight away from those who have been offered places on courses starting in the next academic year, though bursaries will only be paid once satisfactory evidence has been provided of registration on, and successful commencement of, a relevant UK course.

The closing date for applications is Friday 7 October 2016. At least ten bursaries are expected to be awarded from October 2016, with payments being received by students by mid-November, at the latest.

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ABDO appoints Nick Walsh as Sector Skills Development Officer

ABDO has announced the appointment of Nick Walsh in the newly created position of Sector Skills Development Officer (SSDO).

In the new SSDO position, Nick will have responsibility for promoting all qualifications offered by both ABDO and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM).

Nick, a qualified dispensing optician, is currently head of ophthalmic lenses and dispensing (UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain) at Specsavers and will commence his new role at ABDO in November.

Commenting on the appointment Tony Garrett, ABDO general secretary, said: “I’m delighted that Nick will be joining the ABDO team, he has extensive experience in delivering learning and development, as well researching technological advances for dispensing practices. In the new promotional role for ABDO and WCSM qualifications and courses run by ABDO College, Nick will engage directly with employers, promoting the very high standards offered by ABDO College and encouraging more people to train and gain nationally recognised optical qualifications.”

Upon the announcement of his appointment Nick Walsh said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to help employers discover the options open to them and their teams to build a career in optics, achieving this through the extensive range of courses provided by ABDO College and qualifications from both ABDO and WCSM. I’m looking forward to the new role and working with the College and industry employers in the near future.”

GOS yearly activity statistics published

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (soon to be NHS Digital) has published GOS activity statistics for the period April 2015 – March 2016.

Key statistics are shown below:

  • The number of NHS-funded sight tests carried out in 2015-16 was 13.0 million, an increase of 1.7 per cent from 2014-15.
  • There were 23,896 NHS-funded sight tests conducted per 100,000 population.
  • The number of NHS optical vouchers reimbursed in 2015-16 was 4.5 million, a decrease of 2.8 per cent from 2014-15.
  • The number of NHS vouchers for repairs or replacements reimbursed in 2015-16 was 543,885, an increase of 3.2 per cent from 2014-15.

The full report can be viewed by clicking here.

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2015 ABDO College annual report

ABDO College has published its Annual Report for 2015.

To view the 2015 ABDO College annual report click here.
New ABDO College 2016/17 prospectus

ABDO College has launched its new 2016/17 prospectus.

To obtain a hard copy of the prospectus, please contact the Courses Team at ABDO College on 01227 738 829 (Option 1), or email

To view the prospectus click here
ABDO College milestones infographic

Over fifteen successful years

It’s over fifteen years since ABDO College took residence at Godmersham Park and the only college in the UK devoted solely to the teaching of the theory and practical aspects of ophthalmic dispensing and its related specialist areas was established.

The ABDO College milestones infographic highlights some of the key achievements along the way.

To view the infographic click here
Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon
Up for the challenge? Get your running shorts on and join Team Fight for Sight!

Join Fight for Sight for this beautiful autumnal race on 9 October 2016. It is a stunning 13.1 mile flat run through four of London’s glorious Royal Parks. Starting and finishing in the splendid Hyde Park, Fight for Sight will be there to cheer you on!

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