GOC appoints ten new members to Hearings Panel

The General Optical Council (GOC) has appointed ten new members to its Hearings Panel. They will bring a wealth of experience as dispensing or contact opticians to the Hearings Panel, which has over 40 members, including optometrists, dispensing or contact lens opticians, and lay (non-registrant) members.

The appointees will sit on the GOC’s Fitness to Practise (FtP) and Registration Appeals Committees. Both committees, and those sitting on them, play a vital role in helping us uphold high standards in the optical professions as the we continue in our mission of public protection.

The appointees will work to determine allegations relating to the fitness to practise of registered optometrists and dispensing opticians, the fitness of student registrants to undertake training as an optometrist or dispensing optician, and the fitness of business registrants to carry on business as optometrists, dispensing opticians, or both. Their varied and extensive experiences will ensure they bring practical insight and guidance to the Panel’s work.

The new Hearings Panel members begin their term on 1 September 2023.

Claire Anstee

Claire has over 35 years’ experience in the field of optics and currently works as a locum contact lens optician in Northamptonshire. She spent most of her career as the owner and Director of Anstee & Proctor Opticians.


  • Began as Trainee Dispensing Optician with Boots.
  • Qualified as contact lens optician in 1994.
  • Interest in dry eye and myopia control.

Philip Bird

Philip is a practising dispensing optician and Joint Venture Partner in four Specsavers practices. He has ten years of experience in regional and operational management roles with Boots and Specsavers.


  • Qualified as a dispensing optician in 2006.
  • Previously held Practice Manager roles across Northeast England.
  • MBA from Aston University.

Sarah Castree

Sarah is a lecturer in Applied Optics at City and Islington College. Beyond this, she practises as a locum and volunteers for Vision Care for homeless patients.


  • Graduated in Optical Management from Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Completed PGCE and external examiner training at ABDO.
  • ABDO UK and Overseas examiner.
  • Interest in practical dispensing skills and visual optics.

Sue Deal

Sue has 40 years of experience as a practising dispensing optician, from which she writes OA Corner – a monthly article for Dispensing Optics.


  • ABDO practical examiner, moderator, and practice visitor.
  • Distance learning tutor at ABDO College.
  • Awarded ABDO Medal of Excellence for exceptional service in 2022.

Millie Fellows

Millie has over 25 years of experience as a Practice Leader. Before moving to independent practise four years ago, she held a variety of roles within a large multiple. She currently practises as a dispensing optician in Oxfordshire.


  • Secretary of Oxfordshire LOC.
  • Non-Executive Director (Clinical) for Oxfordshire LOCSU. Chair of LOCSU Renumeration Committee. LOCSU Board Liaison Northwest LOC Regional Forum.
  • ABDO Regional Lead.
  • Associate Member of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Human Resource Management.

Suzana Gorda

Suzana is a practising dispensing optician with a passion for luxury and bespoke eyewear. She has pursued this through her work in independent practices.


  • Graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2016.
  • Course Leader and Lecturer for Anglia Ruskin BSC in Ophthalmic Dispensing.
  • ABDO tutor.
  • Contributor to Optician magazine.

Leigh Nelson

Leigh ran her own practice for 22 years with Specsavers. She has 26 years of experience in optics and practises as a dispensing optician in Northern Ireland.


  • Retail Director for Specsavers from 2001 – 2022, of which 15 years were in the Frames and Product Development Team and five years in the IT and Systems Improvement Team.
  • Graduated in Ophthalmic Dispensing from Anglia Ruskin University in 2004.
  • Every Customer Counts Pilot Lead for NI Equality Commission in 2017.
  • Former Committee, Vice President, President, Vice President (2nd Term) at Newtownards Chamber of Trade between 2008-2023.
  • Eight years experience in payroll management and compensation practises.
  • Specialism in dispensing to babies or children with special requirements and to patients with additional needs.

Jill Perry

Jill has over 35 years of experience working as a dispensing optician in large multiple, small group, and independent practices. She has both clinical and management experience. She now practises in Dorset.


  • MECS accredited contact lens optician.
  • Interest in dry eye, low vision, and myopia management.

Lesley Reid

Lesley has worked as a dispensing optician in both the independent and multiple sectors since qualifying in 1992. She currently works in South East London and Kent.


  • Practice Manager in high street practises.
  • GOC Fitness to Practise Case Examiner since 2014.
  • GOC Investigations Committee member since 2019.
  • Member of the Bexley, Bromley, and Greenwich Local Optical Committee.
  • Current magistrate in the adult criminal courts for the North Kent Bench.

Dr Nahid Sadr-kazemi Bennett

Nahid’s work in optics is supported by her extensive academic background. She is a Lead Contact Lens Optician at Specsavers, practising in Buxton.


  • PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Manchester.
  • Deputy Clinical Lead for third-year optometry students at University of Manchester.
  • Experienced researcher and analyst.