Working for a multiple practice

An optometrist in a multiple practice is part of a chain or franchise, and offers primary care to patients. 

The attractions of a multiple setting

The attraction of working in a multiple setting can be the availability of modern technology and equipment such as OCTs, along with the potential career opportunities across the parent company and the in-house training and support.

The work can be fast-paced, and you will see a wide range of patients. The systems, policies and procedures will be established and developed by the parent company.

Increasingly, community multiples are getting involved in offering enhanced services by offering community-based secondary care to patients. Multiples have embraced MECS and are looking to commission an increasing variety of schemes.

Kamlesh Gohil MCOptom

Director in a community multiple

Current job role

"I’m responsible for managing the businesses and I’m also currently a College assessor and OSCE examiner. I facilitate and present at CET events for my parent company and deliver pre-registration training with a particular interest in contact lenses.

I’m also lead assessor for Minor Eye Conditions Services (MECS) and glaucoma and a Committee member of my Local Optical Committee (LOC). I’m also a member of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and go to their events.”

Job roles

The optometrist job role at a multiple practice will be supported by a team of front-of-practice staff, optical assistants and dispensing opticians. There can be career and promotion opportunities in this setting such as regional management, professional services or work in training and development. These roles can involve a lot of travelling and require skills around communication, report writing and leadership.

In addition, as a director you can run your own franchise which is one or more practices where you have overall responsibility for the team and how the business is run. Optometrists who take up this opportunity might have had additional responsibilities as a supervisor, College assessor or examiner.

Chris Harrop MCOptom

Professional Services Manager in a community multiple

Current job role

"I work for a small independent group. I'm the clinical lead in my practice and the Professional Services Manager for six practices overall. We specialise in a range of additional patient services, including orthokeratology, laser treatment, sports vision and contact lenses.

Roshni Patel MCOptom

Training and qualifications

These might include: 

  • Clinical and patient management skills and topics, such as contact lenses and dry eye
  • Communication skills
  • Supervision
  • Leadership and management.

Training and development opportunities will be offered in-house or through company schemes, for example OCT and other equipment, Minor Eye Conditions Services (MECS) and management training.

Workshops and information will usually be provided from the parent company and lens or equipment manufacturers. There might also be support for higher level learning such as a PhD.

College events help you learn, network and gain CPD points. We have a blended programme of both online and in-person events which include: Optometry Tomorrow - our annual national conference and exhibition; peer reviews; webinars; CPD events tailored to Independent Prescribers; and much more.

Online learning, using College and Docet materials can be an efficient way of keeping your skills up-to-date, as well as earning CPD points. The College offers training for assessor, examiner and supervisor roles.

There are a number of College-accredited higher qualifications, covering the following topics:

  • contact lens practice
  • glaucoma
  • low vision
  • medical retina
  • paediatric eye care.

The College also offers an Independent Prescribing (IP) qualification. This enables optometrists to clinically assess a patient, establish a diagnosis, determine the clinical management required and prescribe where necessary.