A year on from the first lockdown, Totnes audiologist Kim Waryck has spoken about the experiences she and her team faced when helping South Hams customers with their hearing needs.
Kim is a director of Totnes Specsavers Hearcare, which along with all Specsavers stores has remained open as normal throughout the pandemic. However, during the UK’s first lockdown, the store was only open for emergency and essential appointments.
She says: ‘During these months of isolation, with little or no face-to-face contact for many people, especially those in rural areas, our hearing and communication skills are vital to keeping people connected to family and friends and improving mental health.
‘Throughout the first national lockdown, it was very important that we remained open for care for those in need. I was able to provide a doorstep service to maintain and repair hearing aids for local people when they needed them most.
‘People were so grateful that I was able to drive to them and collect their hearing aids from the doorstep, repair or programme them from the car, and then pop their hearing aids back through the letterbox. It was a busy few months.
‘A year on, we have learnt so much and I am so proud to be part of a team that has dealt positively and effectively with so much change, ensuring the best quality of care for our patients.
‘I’m also proud to say our environment of work is a safe place. We wear full PPE, maintain effective social distancing, regularly clean equipment after every appointment, and each staff member is tested via lateral flow tests twice a week.’
Kim’s journey to being Totnes’s director has been rapid, having started her career as a receptionist.
She adds: ‘I very quickly worked my way up through training and development courses instore as part of Specsavers’ development programme. I was given the opportunity and investment to study and gain my foundation degree in Hearing Aid Audiology at Anglia Ruskin University in 2011.
‘Because of my own experience, I strongly believe in employing local people, because we believe in investing in the local talent available, which then has a positive knock-on for the community.
‘Last September I was able to continue investing in local people by providing a new apprentice position. Chloe Ball has been fantastic and continues to shine through during her studies at South Devon College.’
Kim now provides vital hearing services to people in the Specsavers stores at Totnes, Paignton, Torquay and Torquay Willows.
Appointments can be booked online at www.specsavers.co.uk or by calling the store on 01803 849315. Visit www.specsavers.co.uk for more information.
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