Paula Cheong
      • Paula Cheong
      • Registered Nurse
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    Paula Cheong

    Registered Nurse

    Qualifications

    MSc Applied Forensic Psychology, BA (Hons), BA, PG (Cert) Management, RGN, RMN

    Specialisms

    • ​Prison service nursing 
    • Acute Psychiatric ward nursing
    • Community mental health nursing

    Introduction

    I am a dual registered nurse (mental health and general nursing) with 25 years’ experience, mainly in mental health. I qualified overseas in 1991 with a B Nursing (honours level degree), granting registration in the fields of mental health nursing, community health nursing, general nursing and midwifery.  When I moved to the UK in 1997, I worked in the forensic/offender health arena, culminating in 2002 in being one of 3 clinicians employed to establish the first mental health in-reach service at HMP Leicester.  The purpose of the project was to identify, treat or divert severely mentally-ill offenders, whose mental health needs were not being met by the existing service.  This service was eventually expanded to other prisons across the rest of the county of Leicestershire and Rutland.  Since then, I have worked in open and closed prisons and previously provided input within the court diversion service to the Leicester Magistrates Court.  I have also previously worked with the prolific offender service in Leicestershire Probation Service providing a weekly clinic to advise on suspected mental health difficulties of ex-prisoners released on licence.  After the service was decommissioned in 2010, I returned to acute mental health services as Matron. I managed a busy inner city ward with the aim of ensuring best practice standards were maintained, investigating shortcomings, implementing changes to improve standards and ensuring the well-being of my patients and staff.  

    I left the NHS in 2013, to set up my medico-legal practice and returned to the NHS full-time as Clinical Nurse Manager for primary care at a young offender institution. Being dual trained, I also managed the primary mental health team at a lifer prison for a period when there was a managerial vacuum. The prison unfortunately closed and I now work as a community psychiatric nurse for a new pilot project (Urgent Medical Mental Health Line) which is aimed at meeting the needs of mentally unwell patients who require urgent assessment but do not meet the threshold for the input of Crisis Intervention Service. I continue to work within offender health on a sessional basis. As a result of my clinical and managerial experience, I have expertise conducting serious incident investigations, risk assessments, assessment of care planning and delivery, evaluation of care standards and identification of possible breaches of these standards.  I have gained extensive knowledge of the processes that operate within a custodial environment which impact on the care that can be delivered, deliberate self-harming, substance misuse, risk assessment and health provision within a hosted service (i.e. NHS service within the broader prison service) and conflict management. I also have experience of the inquest process following deaths in custody and of patients residing in acute units.

     I am currently working towards the Cardiff University Bond Solon Expert Witness Certificate in Civil law. 

    I accept instructions from both Claimant and Defendant Solicitors and Insurers.  I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.

    Professional Affiliations
    • Nursing and Midwifery Council of England and Wales
    • British Psychological Society (BPS)

    Professional Education
    2011 PG (Cert) Management, Open University
    2005 MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology, University of Leicester
    1995 BA (Hons) Psychology, South Africa
    1991 BA Nursing with distinction, (General, Psychiatric, Community Health Nursing and Midwifery), South Africa
    1986 BA Psychology, South Africa