Congratulations to Somek & Associates' Fiona Powell, OT expert witness and...
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BSc Occupational Therapy
I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1999 and initially gained experience in all core physiotherapeutic areas before specialising in neurosciences and neurology in 2003. I have worked within the specialism in acute hospitals, rehabilitation units through to community-based rehabilitation.
From 2005 to 2007 I worked as a senior physiotherapist in a specialist spinal injuries unit, based in Auckland, New Zealand. The role incorporated both inpatient rehabilitation and out-patient services which included outreach work to different parts of North Island New Zealand as part of a small consultant-lead multidisciplinary team. This team provided holistic assessment consultations locally giving specialist advice to clients, local therapists and medical practitioners as well as health, social care, vocational and a number of other organisations as appropriate. The focus of this team was to ensure people living with spinal cord injury were continuing to live well and their particular needs were being met.
In 2009 I completed a Masters in Global health and development, with a focus on disability, through University College London. This provided an opportunity to develop further depth of knowledge in the relationships between disability, culture, gender and society. The Masters culminated in research into lived perspectives on accessing healthcare for women and men with disability on a small island. The experience and learning at Masters level has given me a further depth of knowledge and skills in the wider constructs around living with neurological disability aiding greater understanding of client’s individual life-long experiences.
I took the post as a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in neurology and neurodisability (Band 8a) in a busy London community neurology service in 2010. This role encompassed leadership on best practice, evidence based physiotherapy and clinical mentorship for a colleague who was completing her Masters in research. Day to day team leadership also involved supervision and clinical teaching as well as employing skills in case co-ordination and advocacy for clients, including those with more complex presentations and needs referred to the service. Since this time I have had a second temporary move to New Zealand where I lead on improvements to service delivery and service development initiatives as part of a wider leadership role in my physiotherapy specialism. Since returning to the UK I have moved into private neurological physiotherapy setting up my own practice in early 2014. For 2 years from late 2013 I worked part time in brain injury case management. I found this role complementary to my vocation as a specialist neurological physiotherapist. I have since returned to full time work in private physiotherapy practice. Throughout my career I have worked with clients with a variety of neurological conditions including but not limited to brain injury, spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy.
I accept instruction 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 Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.