Opticians join forces in Hitchin
Submitted by Catherine Hogan
Two independent opticians in Hitchin, Hertfordshire have merged their practices in an exciting move for eyecare in the town.
Shephard & Akay Optometrists and Hitchin Visioncare will trade from the former’s location at 5-7 Churchyard.
With just a few hundred feet separating the two practices in the town centre, the merger will allow patients from both practices to continue to receive the high standard of care that the businesses have developed over the years.
All patient records from Hitchin Visioncare, including contact lens details and supply, have been safely and confidentially transferred to the new premises at Shephard & Akay Optometrists.
Not only will the patient records be merged, but some familiar faces from the Visioncare team, including practice manager Lauren Swallow, will be joining Shephard & Akay.
Shephard & Akay Optometrists has a heritage dating back over four decades, when it was established by Tony Shephard in 1975, whilst Hitchin Visioncare has been serving their patients since 1998.
Both practices have worked throughout the pandemic, providing emergency and essential appointments to help ease the pressure on the NHS.
Shephard & Akay optometrist, Ali Akay, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our team and Hitchin as a whole. It’s a fantastic opportunity to merge two practices with strong clinical reputations to create a destination that delivers an unrivalled standard of eye care.
“It’s fantastic that Lauren and other familiar faces will be lending their expertise as we merge, and we’re excited for what the future holds.
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming the patients from Hitchin Visioncare and, as they will be able to see a few of the same friendly faces, we can guarantee they will receive a warm welcome.”
Shane Lewis of Hitchin Visioncare said: “This merger will ensure that our patients will continue to receive the highest levels of care and service, only a short distance away.
“The combination of two excellent practices is the perfect recipe to create what I’m sure will be Hitchin’s premier independent eyecare destination.
“The team are relishing the challenges ahead and are committed to delivering the very best experience for our client base.”
As healthcare providers, opticians are exempt from current lockdown restrictions, and Shephard & Akay have been able to continue providing sight tests, contact lens fittings, and after-care to those needing it.
Visits to the practice are by appointment only, all staff are equipped with full PPE and strict measures have been introduced to guarantee a safe environment. To book an appointment, visit: https://shephardandakay.co.uk or call 01462 432088.