The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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BSc Prosthetics and Orthotics, MSc Advanced Clinical Practice
I qualified in 2011 and I am the first HCPC registered Orthotist in the UK to hold an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice. My specialties include lower limb assessment and diagnosis, orthotic intervention, gait analysis and spinal bracing. To add to my undergraduate degree, I have completed level 7 modules in medical image interpretation, including lower limb triage and diagnosis as well as spinal triage and diagnosis.
I currently split my working time between private practice, for a company in which I am the Director (Great Gait Orthotics) and being the Orthotic Clinical Lead in Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust. Prior to this I worked in several NHS Trusts as a contracted Orthotist for some of the largest UK Orthotic clinical services companies. This enabled me to see a wide variety of complex and detailed cases including those who suffer with diabetes, musculoskeletal and neurological impairment. I have experience working in gait laboratories, creating pre and post orthotic intervention reports using detailed analysis. I also have experience assessing and prescribing knee ankle foot orthosis, ankle foot orthosis, custom made foot orthosis, orthopaedic footwear, trauma spinal and scoliosis bracing. I am trained in the use of traditional fabrication processes as well as advancing 3D print manufacture and scanning for 3D limb capture.
I have worked with several case managers and have a number of orthopaedic consultants who refer patients in for gait analysis and custom-made orthotics. I also provide regular multidisciplinary clinics with neuro physiotherapy teams in the Northwest of England.
During the last 3 years, I have worked closely with Pam Enderby (OBE) on developing an outcome measure for orthotics. We have trained over 70 orthotists UK wide during this time. I have been invited by my national body to speak at the annual conference and have given lectures in the University of Salford, as well as putting on a number of teaching sessions for my AHP colleagues about the use of orthosis and biomechanics.
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 Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.