Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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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. I have practiced clinically in most midwifery areas at a senior level, including the community, assessment units and labour ward. I was a university lecturer from 2007-2009, and developed a specialist role caring for women with diabetes from 2009-2013. I was concurrently a supervisor of midwives from 2001-2015 with a responsibility for providing leadership and guidance and acting as a role model. In this role I also supported midwives through NMC hearings. In 2012 I completed an 8-month secondment as maternity clinical governance lead followed by a 3-month secondment as the Lead for Clinical Risk within a Trust. From April 2013 – January 2016 I was the midwifery lead for quality and assurance at Wexham Park Hospital. I reduced my NHS hours from June 2015 to concentrate on expert witness work with Somek & Associates, and although I retired in 2016 from the NHS I continued to work in my clinical area part time. In December 2017 I recommenced work in an NHS Trust as Maternity Data Intelligence & Assurance Lead.
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. I stopped in September 2018 as the organisation ceased to function.
Within my NHS experience, I have been responsible for co-ordinating and investigating both major and serious incidents that occurred in maternity units, both internal and external to my workplace. This has involved interviewing midwives and other members of the multidisciplinary team and obtaining statements. I have also co-ordinated investigations trust wide, submitted serious incident reports to NHS London and fed back learning outcomes to the Clinical Directorates.
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