Beat the rush with new business models

1 February 2024
Winter 2024

Kathy Oxtoby looks at the approaches practitioners can take to running a busy clinic.

For any busy optometry practice, running a clinic means encountering a variety of daily challenges. First and foremost, there is the pressure to provide patients with the best eye care while ensuring the business remains viable.  

Gordon Ilett MCOptom, who was an owner of and partner in optical practices in south-east London for 35 years, says space is a priority. “You need to be able to move people through your space efficiently. While larger practices may have a suite of rooms, a challenge for many practices is that space is limited,” he says.

Appointments running late is another issue, says Gordon. “This may be due to emergency walk-in patients, or a patient’s care being more complex than expected.”  

Staff sickness and absence also put pressure on clinical colleagues and reception teams, says Gordon.

Patient demand can vary from day to day, so staffing levels are a constant consideration, particularly for small practices. As the sole optometrist with a small team, Eavan Kennedy MCOptom, owner and director of EK Eyewear, Belfast, says: “One day you can have a full clinic, get a delivery of stock, have two couples browsing and the phone ringing [at the same time], while the next day can be quiet. So you’re always thinking: ‘Have I got the staffing levels right?’”

However, new ways of running a practice can help counter these issues. “Using different business models can help increase efficiency, and allow us to meet the demands of busy clinics and the needs of patients,” says Gordon.

Sign in to continue

Forgotten password?

Not already a member of the College?

Start enjoying the benefits of College membership today. Take a look at what the College can offer you and view our membership categories and rates.

Related further reading

The College has provided key information to help you identify cases and guidance on managing circumstances that are relevant to optometry practices.

The College of Optometrists offers support to hay fever sufferers on managing their symptoms.

This Halloween we're urging the public to think about their eye health.