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Q&A with Arthur McHugh

Arthur is Optometry Scotland’s independent representative for the West. Managing director of Hughes and McHugh Optometrists, Arthur’s business has four practices covering Airdrie, Lanark, Baillieston and Uddingston.

As part of the OS Executive Committee, Arthur will ensure the views and concerns of members within his regional cluster are heard at both a local and national level. We conducted a quick Q&A with Arthur to help members learn more about their representative team.

How long have you been a member of Optometry Scotland? 

Good question! I joined when Optometry Scotland introduced membership - around 2006 would be a fair guess.

What made you want to become an independent representative? 

I personally felt it was important to get involved because despite being a member of Optometry Scotland, I had never been approached by other independent practice members. That’s what prompted my initial thought process of how to be proactively involved on behalf of myself, but also the wider independent community. We do things slightly differently to the multiples, be that how we manage our stock, or our internal processes, and I felt it was important to ensure that was being acknowledged. I wanted to be part of the change that brought more independents together in a way that could really benefit us all.

How do you plan to support your regional cluster? 

Initially, I want to establish a pathway of communication with my region via e-mail. I think that’s a little less intimidating and it will allow everyone to get to know me at their own pace amongst busy day-to-day lives. From there, it would be great to get around the practices and meet people. I’d like to do the same with non-members too, as I feel passionately that everyone should have the opportunity to understand how Optometry Scotland can help them! 

How can optometrists based in your region get in contact with you, and why should they? 

E-mail is preferred or phone calls as sometimes talking to someone can be more reassuring. I’m happy to take my lead from the optometrists within my region, as I’m here to support them whatever they may need. 

What are the biggest challenges facing your region that you would like to raise awareness of or tackle? 

If I’m honest, Scotland wide issues of resource and funding are the primary issues we are facing, and I think they should certainly be a priority. However, speaking from my own experience, the size of the West region is notable and pulling together will be key. While optometrists across different areas within my region may have different experiences, I think this will serve us well as it may provide out of the box solutions to issues that are becoming more common place. I’m also hopeful that I can serve as a point of contact to connect everyone, while I may not have the answer to every query or concern, I will do my best to find someone within the industry who will.  

How would you like to see Independent Members of OS get more involved? 

I think that members can be our strongest asset in demonstrating the value that Optometry Scotland can bring to the optical profession, but they have to understand what exactly OS is doing for them on the day to day in order for that to be effective. In my mind, I see this as being a two-pronged approach – with the OS team shouting a little louder about our achievements and being proactive at keeping members in the loop. While particularly in the case of independent members, it would be great to see them recognise the influence their voice can have on what OS prioritises or how we approach industry wide issues. From a personal perspective, I think it would be fantastic to see independent members approaching their industry colleagues and friends who may not yet be members, and opening the conversation of what OS has done for them – the GOS fee is a great place to start here.

If there was one thing you would like independent practices to know about OS, what would it be?

It can take time to fully understand what Optometry Scotland can do for you, and indeed what they have already done for you, so ask! We are a collective of friendly faces who can provide answers to industry questions, and we can be trusted to act on concerns with honesty and integrity. I want more independent members especially to see the influence we have over government when we act collectively. We are stronger as a community and that requires engagement from everyone. Being part of something bigger than yourself doesn’t have to strip you of individuality, you can have both!

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