Alex Penfold on Youth Mental Health Day 2023: Insights from a Mental Health Nurse and...
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MSc, PGC, DipHE, BSc (Hons) Midwifery, RGN
I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1984 and as a Midwife in 1995. My clinical experience has encompassed practice in most midwifery areas at a senior level, including the community, assessment units and labour ward. From 1999 I worked concurrently one day per week as a diabetes specialist midwife (DSM) until 2009 when I accepted a position to develop the DSM role in a different Trust full-time. In 2012 I undertook an 8-month secondment as maternity clinical governance lead followed by a 3-month secondment as the Lead for Clinical Risk for my Trust. I co-ordinated and investigated both major and serious incidents that occurred both internal and external to my workplace. I also had experience with Trust wide incidents, have submitted serious incident reports to NHS London and have fed back learning outcomes to the Clinical Directorates. Throughout the years between 2001-2015 I was also a supervisor of midwives with a responsibility for providing leadership and guidance, acting as a role model and supporting midwives through NMC hearings when required. Between 2007-2009 I worked 3 days per week as a university lecturer and 2 days clinically. During this time I gained a post-graduate certificate in teaching undergraduates.
From April 2013 – January 2016 I became the midwifery lead for quality and assurance. I reduced my NHS hours from June 2015 to concentrate on expert witness work with Somek & Associates and retired from the NHS in 2016. Since then I have continued to work as a midwife through NHS Professionals. I initially supported the Trust through being the Maternity Data Intelligence & Assurance Lead and undertaking root cause analysis and serious incident reports. I have maintained my knowledge and clinical competences through annual mandatory and other CPD training and courses and currently work 2 days per week in the clinic area.
Outside the NHS, from 2001 I was an instructor on the ALSO (Advanced Life Saving in Obstetrics) course, a nationally accredited multidisciplinary course, to teach and assess emergency skills and drills, approximately twice a year. The organisation ceased to function in September 2018. I continue to contribute to voluntary maternity skills and drills train the trainer programs overseas and have travelled to India and Nigeria, with the aim of assisting the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality.
I undertake medico-legal work for Somek and Associates where I accept instructions from both Claimant and Defendant Solicitors and Insurers. I completed an expert witness module at the University of Hertfordshire in 2008 and have continued to keep updated with formal training in the medico-legal process. I am fully aware of my responsibilities under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses. My experience as an Expert has included attending case conferences, preparing joint statements, giving evidence at both the Coroner’s court and at the NMC and attending Civil Court hearings.
Royal College of Midwives
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Member of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses