Bhadra The ‘Keeper of the Diary’ – And Her Record-Breaking Clinic Career

Even with the handy the iPhone calendar app and the iPad’s easy to use diary features, no New Year is complete for me without a crisp new, old-fashioned, paper diary which will be my daily companion over the next twelve months.

I relish the ritual of selecting the most attractive design incorporating my lay-out of choice – it must be a handbag-friendly size and have a week/two page ratio, alongside clear monthly over views. I actually enjoy the relatively tedious chore of neatly transposing all the essential details and information from one year to the next  (despite the fact that it already exists in electronic format) as little can beat the satisfaction of grabbing a quiet moment and using a favourite pen for the job.

Just give me a new notebook – (preferably a legal counsel’s A4 size for desk work), a more portable version  (in a beautiful cover for when I’m out and about); and my specially selected diary together with a set of highlighters, smooth-writing and non leaking ball point pens – and I am completely happy.

Yes, I admit it: I am a sucker for stationery!

Bhadra checking the “diary”

But this is a personal idiosyncrasy and, when it comes to the workplace, I would be the first to embrace any new technology that could help a busy environment like the London Vision Clinic make their appointment system as efficient as possible.

The word “diary” is a loose interpretation of the mega computer programme which keeps track of all the optometrist and surgery appointments for London Vision Clinic patients. At 138 Harley Street the responsibility for overseeing this crucial job falls on Bhadra, the patient services coordinator.

“At first glance, it might appear to be an incredibly complicated system; but I have been working with the clinic diary for such a long time that I find it quite straightforward as I’ve been able to watch the system grow and evolve.”

When Bhadra first joined the London Vision Clinic in 2004 the appointment system consisted of a simple desk diary where patients were scheduled to see either Dr Dan or Darren, the only optometrist working at Devonshire Place at the time. In those days there were about ten people working at the clinic – today the diaries handle patient appointments for seven optometrists, as well as Dr Dan and Glenn Carp’s surgeries and after care.

The bespoke computerised system now used by the London Vision Clinic allows for the use of separate modules and specific time allocation slots depending on the patient’s eye tests and scans, consultations, or the laser eye operation itself. Appointments are booked three months in advance and the “diary” can be accessed by all the office computers. The basic programme template was sourced and then customised by Tim, the clinic’s research manager.

“It runs smoothly most of the time”, said Bhadra. “Problems arise only when a patient needs to be seen unexpectedly or if an optometrist is ill; or perhaps patients are not able to come in because of the weather or other unforeseen situations arise.”

Bhadra refers to the London Vision Clinic “diary” as her “baby”. Her other baby, Ayesha, was born on October 29th 2010.

Bhadra holds two staff records within the London Vision Clinic: leaving and returning to work twice (she left and returned to the clinic before and after her marriage and then again before and after the birth of her daughter); and for having the most relatives as London Vision Clinic patients. To date the total is eight -her father, uncle, two cousins, one close friend and now her husband’s cousin have all had their eye sight corrected at the London Vision Clinic. Bhadra herself was one of the first staff members to have the operation.

“I had very short sight and astigmatism and wore very expensive contact lenses – afterwards I just flushed them down the toilet – it is the most exhilarating thing I have ever done”, she said

“Obviously I am drawn to the London Vision Clinic – I left and returned here twice.  I love working here – I absolutely love it – this is just the best bunch of people to work with. Although with the clinic expansion, the staff is now up to almost 40 it has still kept its special atmosphere.”