Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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MSc, BSc Physiotherapy
I qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 1992, and have specialised in the field of neurosciences since 1996. In April 2012, I transferred my position to work within the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust Major Trauma Service. Since May 2020, I have been employed as an AHP Consultant Neurorehabilitation as part of a transformation process for neurorehabilitation services across Greater Manchester.
Prior to working within the Major Trauma Service at Brighton, I had gained 17 years’ experience specialising in acute neurosciences. My previous roles as a Band 7, and clinical specialist physiotherapist in Neurosciences involved working within the areas of Neurosurgery (including critical care), Neurology, Stroke, Acute Neurological Rehabilitation, Neurorehabilitation and Neurological Out-patients.
Working within the Major Trauma Service from April 2012 as the clinical specialist physiotherapist, I led the physiotherapy management of any patient admitted following major trauma leading to multiple, and / or severe and often complex injury including: head injury / acquired brain injury secondary to hypoxia, spinal cord injury, vascular / orthopaedic injury including amputation, chest injury, orthopaedic injury including salvage surgery and complex pelvic surgery, and injury requiring plastic surgery. I provided advice and worked alongside physiotherapy staff in other areas including critical care, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, general medicine, vascular surgery, cardiac surgery and elderly care. My role also included supervision of both qualified physiotherapists and students.
My current role involves the leadership, supervision and management of the AHP teams working within the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) NHS Foundation Trust, hyper-acute, acute and intermediate (post-acute) neurorehabilitation units. I am also working with the two remaining intermediate neurological rehabilitation units in Greater Manchester in preparation for transfer to NCA NHS Foundation Trust as the single provider for neurorehabilitation services. This involves the reconfiguration of beds and the establishment of additional beds to provide specialist neurorehabilitation for patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (PDoC) and who require slow stream cognitive rehabilitation. My role involves clinical work, and the development of standardised pathways of care for neurorehabilitation patients including those with: Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDoC); complex tracheostomy weaning and significant physical and cognitive disability. It is my responsibility to ensure there is appropriate training and supervision for all AHP’s working across neurological rehabilitation. Since starting the Consultant role I have also taken on the lead role for Clinical Governance for neurorehabilitation services, and am facilitating research opportunities and the evaluation of new and innovative technologies.
Since 2016 I have been registered on the UK International Emergency Trauma Register. I have received training with Humanity and Inclusion (formally Handicap International) and UK Med to prepare me for deployment to Humanitarian disasters working as a physiotherapist both within a UK field hospital and as part of a specialist rehabilitation cell and I currently participate in "on-call" periods for UK Med.
I joined Somek and Associates in 2008 since when I have written many medico-legal reports following 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.
2007 MSc Neurological Physiotherapy, Sheffield Hallam University
1992 BSc Hons. Physiotherapy, Manchester University