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July 13 2012
Why does networking matter? By Gill Brabner, director of education and training at LOCSU
The NOC has become a must-attend event in the optical calendar for LOC and ROC officers, and while we hope people attend to hear the latest thinking from our speakers on NHS reforms and the commissioning of services, we recognise that meeting up with friends, old and new, is a vital component at any conference. This is particularly true of the NOC – where delegates get together with fellow LOC and ROC officers to catch up with local, regional and national news, share success stories, and discuss the challenges of juggling business, committee and family life.
But aside from the social aspects of networking, the conference provides the ideal opportunity for delegates to use networking to influence the senior movers and shakers in local commissioning, learn from fellow LOC and ROC officers, and debate ideas and new initiatives.
I’m struck by how much expert knowledge exists within the committee network, much of it gained over years of service to LOCs and ROCs by a relatively small number of people who are passionate about their local optical sector. It is important that we recognise value and tap into that wealth of experience and expertise.
Networking at the NOC is an ideal opportunity for our experienced and seasoned LOC and ROC officers to support and offer advice to our newly elected chairs and officers, some of whom are still in their 20s and are bringing vigour and vitality to committee life.
Following the success of the regional meetings at last year’s NOC, they feature again in the programme for 2012, but at a slightly later time (on the Friday morning) – which I’m sure will be appreciated by many. I know NOC delegates put great value on the more structured networking opportunity these meetings provide. Some of our LOC chairs are already discussing their regional meetings in the forums, and it is only July; giving us a clear indication there will be a lot to talk about by the time we get to October.
And, at the strategic level, networks and networking are emerging as a crucial element of the NHS changes.
Not only do we need to be represented at the LPN (Local Professional Network) or LEN (Local Eye Network), we need to bring a high level of influencing and collaborative working skills to ensure the right commissioning decisions are reached for our patients. Something that the participants on the LOCSU leadership module have been discussing intently – so why not catch up with them during one of the breaks at the NOC to find out more? Vinesh Patel, chair of Northamptonshire LOC likes to think of the NOC as the place to get your networking points. To support you to becoming a top networker, with or without points, LOCSU has invited Edna Robinson, the founder of NHS networks, to present to delegates on the value of networking. I look forward to seeing you there.
Information about NOC 2012
LOCSU will once again be supporting LOCs and ROCs who will receive one place without charge. Costs have been kept the same for the second year running. All costs for resident delegates include accommodation and food for a two-night stay, starting on the evening of Wednesday October 17, 2012. Also included in the ticket is the formal black tie AOP Awards dinner (Thursday evening). Organised by the AOP, it is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the profession over the past year.
Costs are as follows
- For a NOC resident delegate, the cost is £540 (including VAT)
- For a NOC resident spouse/partner, the cost is £140 (including VAT)
- For a non-resident NOC delegate, the cost is £330 (including VAT)
Whether you are taking up a free place, booking your own, or want to bring your partner along, you can book your place by visiting www.locsu.co.uk
, where you will find the full detailed programme and a link to the e-booking form, kindly organised by the AOP.
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