Meet the Team

Cath Gray

Cath Gray

Cath Gray

I am the department’s Head Orthoptist managing the Orthoptic and Optometry services for Blackpool Fylde and Wyre. I have worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital since 1996 having previously worked in East Lancashire and at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital as a Clinical teacher.

As well as managing the service based at Victoria Hospital, I have clinics on Thursdays at Fleetwood Hospital where I work with our optometrist David Barras offering eye care for the children of North Blackpool and Wyre.

Conrad Beacham

Conrad Beacham

Conrad Beacham

I am the Deputy Head of the department and have worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital since 1997.

I examine both paediatric and adult patients in a variety of clinics within the hospital. I have a paediatric clinic in Lytham on a Friday.

Rebecca Smart

Rebecca Smart

I started working in Blackpool as an Orthoptist in January 2017 after graduating from Sheffield University. I have experience assessing a variety of adult and paediatric orthoptic patients at the hospital and in community clinics. In addition to my clinical commitments, I am also the lead of the Lancashire vision screening service (LaVSS).

The LaVSS provides yearly vision tests for 15,000 4- to 5-year-old children who attend Lancashire County Council schools. I support the orthoptic stroke service by providing orthoptic assessments for patients with visual symptoms post stroke. I also organise and manage clinical placements for Orthoptic students as the lead clinical tutor.

Ammarah Patel

Ammarah Patel

I have worked as an orthoptist since graduating in 2014 and have worked for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals since May 2018.

My current role involves the delivery of the vision screening service in special schools in Blackpool. I carry out the vision screening for the eligible children in these schools, along with Iqra.

I also attend South Shore Primary Care Centre on Tuesday afternoons to conduct a paediatric orthoptic clinic.

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Suhaylah Bapu

Suhaylah Bapu

I am an Orthoptist and I graduated from the University of Liverpool in July 2017. I worked at Royal Preston Hospital before joining the team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in July 2018.

I assess both adults and children in clinics at the hospital and in the community. I am currently the Vision Screening Lead for the Lancashire Vision Screening Service and the Blackpool School Screening Service. Both services involve the delivery of eye tests for children aged 4-5 years at school. I am responsible for organising, auditing and managing both services.

Katherine Sullivan

Katherine Sullivan

I have worked full time for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals since September 2019. I previously worked as an Orthoptist in Edinburgh, Blackburn and for five years in Bolton prior to starting my role here.

My current role includes me working in Orthoptic Clinics at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Monday mornings and Wednesday mornings and working with Consultant Ophthalmologist, Mr Aly, on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings.

I also run paediatric Orthoptic clinics in the community at Kirkham Health Centre every Monday afternoon, on alternate Tuesday afternoons at South Shore Primary Care Centre and Thornton clinic and every Friday afternoon at Cleveleys Health Centre.

I will also be attending special schools this year to carry out vision screening and I have recently been appointed as the lead clinical tutor for undergraduate Orthoptic students.

Maria Brand

Maria Brand

I am currently the Orthoptic stroke lead for Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I graduated from the University of Liverpool in July 2019. My role involves the assessment, diagnosis and management of any visual problems that have arisen following a stroke. I assess patients both on the stroke ward and in the outpatient department. I also work alongside the paediatric consultant ophthalmologist, Mr Aly in his specialist paediatric clinics.

Iqra Altaf

Iqra Altaf

I am currently the BIOS Trade Union representative for Blackpool and have worked as a Full time Orthoptist for Blackpool Victoria Hospital since February 2020. My current role includes assessing a variety of both paediatric and adult patients in community and at the hospital.

I work with multiple healthcare professionals such as Optometrists in my Orthoptic-Optometrist joint clinics on Mondays and with the Consultant Ophthalmologist seeing paediatric patients in the Woman and Children's unit as well as adult patients in the Adult Ocular motility clinics every month. As well as this, I also assess paediatric patients in South Shore Primary Care Centre every Thursday.

I will be assessing Stroke patients both in the outpatient's department and on the stroke ward and will be carrying out visual screening for SEN patients in special schools. I will be undergoing the BIOS Clinical Tutor training programme to help undergraduate Orthoptic students whilst on placement at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

David Barras

David Barras

David Barras

I work as an Optometrist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and work together with the Orthoptists in the Children’s Orthoptic clinic.

My role is to determine whether a child requires glasses or not as well as checking aspects of the health of the eyes. Glasses and focus correction can play an important part in the development of children’s vision as they grow. My clinics are held on Mondays at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and on Thursdays at Fleetwood Hospital. I have been part of the team since September 2015

Graham Robinson

Graham Robinson

Graham Robinson

I have worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for more than 30 years.

My role as an Optometrist involves testing children’s eyes for glasses. I work closely with the Orthoptists in the department on a Tuesday morning. My role is to determine whether a child requires glasses or not.

Karen Wright

Karen Wright

I started working as an Ophthalmic Technician in the Orthoptic department in May 2017.  My working days are Monday to Thursday.

My role as an Ophthalmic Technician involves undertaking the clinical testing of visual fields, using the Humphrey Visual Field Analyser. I also help with administrative duties within the department.

I recently completed the BIOS (British Irish Orthoptic Society) Vision Screening Training Programme, along with my colleague Gail, and achieved the standards of competency in Vision Screening for children aged four to five years. We visit schools in the Lancashire area and perform vision screening tests for Reception children.

Gail Swarbrick

Gail Swarbrick

I started working in the Orthoptic department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in January 2018.

My role as an Ophthalmic Technician involves undertaking the clinical testing of visual fields, using the Humphrey Visual Field Analyser. I also assist with the numerous administrative duties within the department.

I recently completed the BIOS (British Irish Orthoptic Society) Vision Screening Training Programme, along with my colleague Karen, and achieved the standards of competency in Vision Screening for children aged four to five years. We visit schools in the Lancashire area and perform vision screening tests for Reception children.

Yousr Issa

Yousr Issa

Yousr Issa

I work as an Optometrist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and work together with the Orthoptists in the Children’s Orthoptic clinic.

My role is to determine whether a child requires glasses or not. Glasses can play an important part in the development of children’s vision. My clinics are held on Thursdays at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I have been part of the team since January 2021.

Bhawana Vettivel

Bhawana Vettivel

Bhawana Vettivel

I am an Orthoptist and I started working at Blackpool Victoria hospital in August 2021. My role involves working with both adult and paediatric patients at the hospital and in community clinics. During these clinics I work with optometrists and ophthalmologists.

On Thursdays I am based at Fleetwood where I assess paediatric patients. Once a month I do the Adult Ocular Motility clinic.

Sahar Shahzadi

Sahar Shahzadi

Sahar Shahzadi

I am an orthoptist and I graduated from The University of Sheffield in 2021. My current role involves assessing both adults and children in the hospital as well as in the community.

I run the paediatric orthoptic clinics in the community at St Annes Health Centre, South Shore Primary Care Centre, Moor Park Health Centre.

Kim Cullen

Kim Cullen

Kim Cullen

I started working at Blackpool Victoria hospital in 2015, and have worked in different areas across the trust, in 2021 I began my role as an ophthalmic technician here at the orthoptic department. My role is to assess patients in clinical testing of visual fields using the Humphrey Visual Field Analyser.

I also assist with administrative duties within the department.

Aneesah Chowdhury

Aneesah Chowdhury

Aneesah Chowdhury

I joined the Orthoptic Department as an Ophthalmic Technician at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in August 2021.

My role as a technician involves carrying out visual field tests, using the Humphrey Visual Field Analyser, on patients referred from the eye clinic and other departments as required. I also assist with administrative duties within the department.