MEET THE STAFF

The experience and expertise of our staff will ensure that all your visual needs are met. We are a friendly practice and hugely passionate about your eye care. We look forward to welcoming you and being entrusted with your vision care.

Stuart Henderson

Practice Director and Optometrist

Joined the practice in October 1986 and acquired the practice in April 1991.

Special interests: The Ageing Eye, Behavioural Optometry, Sports Vision, Dyslexia and reading problems.

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I first started at G.T. Harvey and Partners, in 1986 as a Pre-registration Optometrist. I qualified in 1987 and bought the practice in 1991.

What is your role within the practice?

Optometrist and Practice Director.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

A typical day is spent mainly undertaking eye examinations. Some time is spent in meetings with staff to ensure we are providing quality patient care.

Evenings are often spent in panning how we can improve the practice, in particular the service we provide our patients.

Do you have to continually renew and refresh your qualifications? 

Yes, we attend Continuous Professional Development courses regularly and in addition I read weekly and quarterly professional optical journals.

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

Yes, I have worn spectacles from the age of 11!

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why?

I have 2 favourite ranges, SALT and Kilsgaard.

SALT because they are so comfortable to wear as well as looking good and Kilsgaard are Danish design at it’s best, lightweight and stylish.

What do you enjoy away from work?

Walking the dogs with my wife, Maria. It’s amazing how far 2 Italian Spinoni will walk given the chance! Running, cycling and doing the occasional Triathlon ….. very slowly!

Jenny Henderson

Associate Director and Optometrist

Joined the practice July 2017 after graduating with a First Class Honours degree from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Special interests: Myopia Control, Children’s Vision,

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I’ve been with the practice for 5 years.

What is your role within the practice?

Optometrist and Practice Manager.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

I spend the majority of my day in the test room seeing patients. These are both adults and children, for all appointments from eye examinations to Dry Eye Assessments and other appointments for the specialist clinics we run.

I am also involved in the day-to-day practice management, which I enjoy as this varies each day.

Do you have to continually renew and refresh your qualifications? 

As an Optometrist I am required to continually refresh my training with CPD (Continual Professional Development) courses.

I am also currently undertaking my Independent Prescribing qualification and a Masters in Primary Care Ophthalmology. I hope that this will allow me to continue to improve the standard of care we provide here at G.T. Harvey and Partners.

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

I do not wear spectacles all of the time but I find myself most days with a pair of sunspecs close to hand – even in winter!

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why?

My favourite ranges are Sandro and Maje. I love the styles available as they have a classic feel and are extremely comfortable. The sunspecs I have from the Maje range are one of my most favourite pairs, that I have ever owned.

What do you enjoy away from work?

I am fortunate to be part of a very friendly, local hockey team and I find that the exercise and good company are an excellent way to relax though the week.

Claire Leadbitter

Dispensing and Contact Lens Optician

Joined the practice in September 2004 as a Dispensing Optician. Clare qualified as a Contact Lens Optician in 2006.

Special interests: Bespoke Dispensing and multifocal contact lenses.

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I have worked at G. T. Harvey and Partners since 2004 (18 years) and began as a fully qualified Dispensing Optician and trainee Contact Lens Optician.

What is your role within the practice?

As a Contact Lens Optician, I fit contact lenses, see people for regular check-ups and advise patients on the best options for their eyes and lifestyle.

I advise on the best frames and spectacle lenses for patients and do strict quality control on these spectacles once they are complete and ready to fit to the patient.

I am excellent at repairs and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything is perfect and ready for the patient’s collection appointment.

I liaise with our spectacle lens manufacturers on updates and ensure we have the right products and information for our patients.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

Our day can vary a lot, from contact lens check-ups, adjustments, repairs, advice, dispensing specs to patients, dealing with concerns patients may have with adapting to something new, as well as helping out when needed in the practice with the general tasks.

I think that’s why I love my job; it can be such a varied day and with being here for 18 years now, I have developed a lovely rapport with so many patients so it’s a pleasure to come in and catch up with who is booked in on that day.

Do you have to continually renew and refresh your qualifications? 

As a fully qualified and registered Dispensing Optician /Contact Lens Optician, we have to do personal continuous training to ensure our knowledge and skills are up to date.  Some of the ways I do that are online webinars, articles with questions and now we have just restarted meetings in person, after Covid put a stop to that for a while. 

As qualified Opticians, we have a real in-depth knowledge of the eyes, eye health, the workings of the eyes and the optics behind the way lenses are made.

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

I have worn spectacles for over 30 years now.  Currently, I have a fabulous dark blue Face à Face frame which is my favourite!  Although I feel it won’t be long till I need varifocals!

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why?

My favourite ranges are Face à Face and Woow, as they are both stylish, colourful and modern with some very striking shapes and models that really flatter your face.  I now have the confidence to wear spectacles that stand out a bit more and love that they are so wearable.

What do you enjoy away from work?

Outside of work I like to spend time with my family and am an avid crime drama viewer.

Kayleigh Winter

Dispensing Optician

Special interests: Dispensing high index lenses. 

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What is your role within the practice?

 I am a Dispensing Optician

 Special Interests. 

 Dispensing high index lenses. 

 What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

As a D.O no day is the same. I could be checking that patients’ orders have come back from the manufacturing labs correctly and to strict British Standards, completing repairs and adjustments, helping patients with any problems they may be having with their vision or specs and/or just giving advice.

My main role however, is to dispense spectacles to patients, making sure the frames they have chosen fit them perfectly, are suitable for their lenses and prescription(s) and give them expert advice on which lens choices will be best to suit their needs and lifestyle – while also making them look fabulous!

 Do you have to continually renew and refresh your qualifications?

 As a D.O, I must obtain a certain amount of CPD (Continued Professional Development) points per 3-year cycle to maintain my professional registration.

We are required to do this by the General Optical Council and to fulfil NHS guidelines.

These CPD points can be gained by reading online articles and taking quizzes, partaking in online webinars and in- person events, where we can meet with our peers to review and discuss certain case studies together. 

CPD helps me keep my knowledge and skills up to date on the latest lenses, frames, and technology in eyecare. 

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

 As a high Myope (short sighted) I wear spectacles all the time. The only time you’ll see me without them on, is if I am wearing my contact lenses for sport. 

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite and why?

 As someone new to the practice, I am working hard to get to know all the frame ranges, but the one that caught my eye straight away is Face à Face and I ordered a frame on my 2nd day as I loved it so much! They are colourful, stylish and so comfortable to wear. 

 What are your interests outside of Optics?

I am an avid Newcastle Flacons supporter and I also enjoy playing rugby with my Ladies team, Consett Cobras, when time allows. I also enjoy a nice glass of wine, especially after a long walk with my dog Lando.

Sonia Dixon

Dispensing and Contact Lens Optician

Sonia joined the practice in August 2019 to enhance our dispensing team. Sonia has many years of experience as both a Dispensing and Contact Lens Optician.

Special interests: Multifocal contact lenses and Myopia Control.

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I have been with the company for 3 years.

What is your role within the practice?

Dispensing Optician and Contact Lens Optician.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

A typical day at work involves advising on spectacle lenses and frames, and taking the measurements required to ensure optimum fit and performance of the eyewear. 

I also look after contact lens patients, performing both fitting and aftercare appointments. In addition, I measure and check the prescriptions and quality of spectacles arriving from the manufacturer before adjusting and fitting to the patient.

Do you have to continually renew and refresh your qualifications? 

Dispensing Opticians are required by our governing body to complete a Continuous Personal Development Plan, which involves attending training sessions, both online and in person. 

This ensures we stay up to date with technology and the latest developments in our profession, thereby providing the best possible service for our patients.

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

I wear Myself varifocals for general use, Workstyle Occupationals at work, and Lifestyle 4 polarising varifocals for sun protection.

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why?

Most of my frames are from the Face à Face range – I find them very comfortable and love the flattering styles and colours.  However, we have just refreshed our Kilsgaard range, and the chunky plastic styles are great – very modern!

Emma Hunter

Dispensing Optician

NOTE: Emma has just started working at GTH and is about to commence her training to become a fully qualified Dispensing Optician. As Emma has previous experience as an optical assistant, we focused on what she was most looking forward to doing and why.

Special interests: I’m a music enthusiast, loving a wide variety of genres. I enjoy collecting music, going to gigs/festivals, and dancing around the house with my fiancé.

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About Emma:

I started wearing glasses at 13 just for looking at the board at school, but since starting work I now need them full time.

 Why looking forward to training/getting professional qualifications?

What interests me most is learning about the spectrum of prescriptions and seeing (and helping others see!) how every kind of visual aid can help all ages live a little bit easier in clear, colourful vision.

 What are you most looking forward to, once you qualify?

When I qualify, I’m looking forward to having the confidence in my knowledge and abilities, particularly fitting and measuring children’s spectacles.

 Which part of your training are you most looking forward to and why?

I really enjoy interpreting prescriptions and advising patients, based on their needs and hobbies, what would be most suitable for them. I am looking forward to developing this part of my knowledge during my training. I am also really looking forward to learning more about myopia, especially myopia managing technology, which I find fascinating!

Ashley Bell

Practice Administrator

Ashley joined the practice in January 1996 as our main receptionist although she now only works part time.

Special interests: Netball, Caravaning.

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I have worked here for 26 years.

What is your role within the practice?

Practice Administrator/Optical Assistant/Receptionist.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do?

Preparing clinics, pre-screening, answering phone, making appts, checking patients in, accounts, filing, typing GP reports….see jobs list!

Has working here improved your understanding of eye health?

Yes, it has made me aware of the eye health side of things and how it relates to other wider health issues such as diabetes and blood pressure.

Do you wear spectacles yourself?

Yes, for reading and computer work. It is a bit of a struggle at the moment as I don’t need them for distance but want a pair I don’t have to keep taking off. I am currently wearing work style room 400, an occupational lens for my close work, and with perseverance they seem to be working.

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why?

I struggled to find a frame which suited me so I chose i-Green, as I liked being able to choose frame shape, colours and side colour separately to make my own combination.

How do you unwind outside of work?

We have 2 Border Terriers, so I enjoy walking them. We go away in our touring caravan to the Lake District, where we are attempting to do the Wainwrights. The easiest so far has been Sale Fell and the hardest was Yewbarrow (some very scary scrambly moments).

My favourite has been Middle Fell in the Wasdale area, which I climbed on my own and had it all to myself (except for the two dogs!). I have completed 54 so far and am determined to bag them all!

I also love going to pub quizzes with my friends. We save our winnings and over the last ten years this has paid for trips to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and we are off to Reykjavík in February.

Jessica Hewitt

Patient Care Coordinator

Jess joined the practice in June 2009 as an Optical Assistant and is involved in all aspects of patient care.

Special interests: Metafit.

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

I started work at the Practice in July 2009 and have been here for thirteen years now. I was in optics for three years prior to joining GT Harvey and Partners.

What is your role within the practice? 

I am a Dispensing Assistant.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do? 

Some days I open the Practice. I prepare clinics for Stuart, Jenny and the Dispensing Optician’s, check patients in, pre- screen patients before their eye examinations, answer telephone calls, deal with queries, and all other general administration duties.

I also order all stationery and keep track of the petty cash, and perform banking and post duties. I type GP letters and I also occasionally help out in the workshop with minor adjustments and repairs when needed.

Has working here improved your understanding of eye health?  

Without a doubt, I have learnt a lot during my years in optics, and the learning continues with the development of technology and advances in surgery.

Do you wear spectacles yourself? 

Yes, I have worn spectacles since I was 7 years old. 

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why? 

I have had few pairs of spectacles from the Woow range. I like the style of the frames and they are always comfortable.

How do you unwind outside of work?

I enjoy keeping fit through home work-outs, and spending time with my 7-year-old daughter and our family and friends.

Christine Meadows

Reception Administrator

Christine joined the team in 2021.

 

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How long have you worked for G.T Harvey & Partners?

Since June 2021, which is not long compared to many members of the Team.

What is your role within the practice? 

I am an Optical Assistant, which consists primarily of patient care, reception, pre-screening and administrative duties.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What does it involve, what do you do? 

You’d be amazed at how much preparation is necessary behind the scenes before each daily clinic is ready – optical machines to be set up, patient records prepared, equipment all in place.

Then throughout the day; booking patients in, checking details, taking calls and emails for enquiries and appointments, pre-screening photos and tests, with letters and reports to be typed, scanned and posted, ordering and distributing contact lens, collating information, with feedback and reviews plus any number of other general duties – meaning no job is too big or small!

Has working here improved your understanding of eye health?  

Yes, as a complete novice I have picked up some interesting information. As it is such a vast subject it is understandable why colleagues have studied for years to gain their professional qualifications.

Do you wear spectacles yourself? 

Yes, mostly for driving.

Of the frame ranges we stock, what is your favourite range and why? 

Silhouette are my favourite, as they are lightweight and delicate designs.

How do you unwind outside of work?

Walking and gardening are some of my favourite pastimes.