Duncan and Todd Optometrists: Rural practices a vision
The Group seeks passionate optometrists for its branches in the idyllic Scottish Highland towns of Thurso, Peebles and Skye, as it looks to meet demand in these tight-knit communities
Author: Duncan and Todd Group
If your commute involves sitting in tailbacks or enduring a train journey in a heatwave, picture driving to work alongside a mountain or a loch shimmering in the sun.
Your next career move could take you amid some of Scotland’s most breath-taking scenery, while offering increased responsibility, the opportunity for career progression and numerous benefits as part of Duncan and Todd Group.
The leading optical and hearing care provider is currently seeking passionate optometrists to take on roles at its branch in Thurso, 20 20 Opticians in Peebles and J M MacDonald in Portree, Skye, as it looks to meet demand in these tight-knit communities.
Working in more rural towns increases your responsibility as an optometrist, offering more challenges as well as working more closely with relevant health professionals to manage serious eye conditions.
This also brings ownership over how you practice optometry, with the opportunity to balance both clinical and commercial aspects of the role.
Duncan and Todd’s Thurso branch is the most recent addition to the Group’s portfolio. Previously trading as G A Henderson Optometrist, this long-standing corner street practice has been an integral part of Thurso’s community since 1984, with director Graham Henderson serving local people for almost 40 years.
Now on the path to retirement, Graham felt Duncan and Todd was the perfect fit thanks to the Group’s passion for high quality customer service and aftercare.
The team is looking for the ideal optometrist to continue this personal service to patients.
He said: 'I’ve practised optometry for almost 40 years here in Thurso. It’s a very friendly place and it’s really special to be providing eyecare to the great-grandchildren of some of my earliest patients, it’s one of the main advantages to being a local community optician.
'Working in a more rural area compared to larger cities does place extra responsibilities on you as an optometrist, but it’s an exciting way to expand your skills.
'A good understanding of referral pathways for emergency eye care is essential and, in some cases, these have to be co-managed with ophthalmology, so it really aligns your services with other specialists, which is quite unique and not always an opportunity in larger towns and cities.'
A popular spot on the North Coast 500 route, Thurso (pictured right) also has easy access to the city of Aberdeen with regular 40 minute flights from nearby Wick John O’Groats Airport, the most northerly point on the British mainland.
In addition to opportunities for skills development, rural towns usually offer local history and scenery with easy access to a range of outdoor pursuits, perfect for recreational time.
Isle of Skye and Peebles
The growing Portree practice, located on the Isle of Skye in the Highlands (pictured below), is a particularly rare opportunity. The area is nothing short of idyllic and has a relaxed feel with plenty of amenities and tourist hotspots, including the Fairy Pools.
Following a major refit in 2018, the practice now boasts two test rooms and facilities for glazing, alongside the latest technology for testing, including a phoropter refraction system, OTC and new visual field machine.
This relocation package includes a two-bedroom apartment, specific to the Skye position. Duncan and Todd Group also offers fantastic opportunities for training and development on an ongoing basis.
Rachel Scholes is an independent prescribing optometrist based at 20 20 Opticians in Peebles. Having been with the company for eight years, Scholes started her career as a pre-registration optometrist in the Group’s Ellon and Inverurie practices.
She said: 'Since I first started with Duncan and Todd, I have had the opportunity to work in various branches across Scotland and this is something that’s been of great benefit to my progression. The staff are always exceptional and friendly, no matter what branch I go into, and everyone helps each other, which is really motivational.
'During my time here, I’ve obtained a low vision course, worked within various shared care schemes and two years ago, I achieved my independent prescribing qualification.
'Having now relocated to Peebles, which is a fantastic small branch, I really enjoy putting my years in other locations into practice. One of my favourite parts of my role is my client relationships, I’ve managed to build these up where my patients are more likely to return during the recall period, which is the optimum way of managing eye health.'
This historic Scottish Borders town offers a mix of culture and character yet is within easy reach of the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh.
Recognising the importance of a good work-life balance, the Group offers flexible working. For those in more remote areas, Duncan and Todd will offer rotation between practices if you’re not quite ready for a permanent move and also considers short-term placements for up to three years. There is also an option to move to another location within the business after the placement has ended.
The Group has an active Professional Services team, which is always on hand to offer advice and support when needed, particularly useful for those working in a more remote location.
Now in its 50th year, the Duncan and Todd Group is Scotland’s largest independent optical and hearing care provider, boasting more than 40 practices across the country. Within the group, practices trade as 20 20 Opticians south of Tayside and as Duncan and Todd in the north, as well as retaining names which are well known locally, such as JM MacDonald in the Highlands.
It has invested in hearing care and now offers this service across Scotland, with free hearing tests and supply, fitting and tuning of a comprehensive range of hearing aids, including digital aids.
The positions in Peebles, Skye and Thurso include many benefits such as competitive salary, performance-based practice bonus, longer testing times, personal optical discounts, GOC registration and indemnity insurance provided, as well as many more.
You can find out more about the positions as well as individual job specs online, and arrange a confidential chat about relocation packages and options through firstname.lastname@example.org.