The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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I qualified in 2004 as a Physiotherapist from the University of Wales College of Medicine. I commenced my career with Aneurin Bevan Health Board and following a rotation in paediatrics I specialised in paediatrics from 2008.
Since then, I have gained a broad spectrum of experience treating children and young people, through various roles in the NHS. I have worked in community paediatric settings, working with and treating a wide cross section of children age 0-19 with a wide variety of disability or illness including neurodisability, multi-pathology and complex needs. I have carried a mixed caseload of children with various conditions, including musculoskeletal, orthopaedics and neuro-disabilities. I have worked with patients from the time of emerging diagnosis through to ongoing management through childhood, management post medical and surgical interventions and onto transition to adult services. I regularly assess and treat children in various environments including the home, nursery, mainstream education and special schools and childrens centres.
I currently work in a special school, with a caseload of children with complex physical and learning difficulties due to a neurological or genetic basis. The children on my special school caseload have complex health needs, therefore requiring coordinated child centered care. I regularly complete comprehensive assessments and using the 'Management of Physical Disability 24-7' assessment tool. This assessment process informs postural management programmes, which are individualised to suit the needs of the child. I have been responsible for the assessment and provision of specialist therapy equipment, such as standing frames, working with families, carers and class staff to ensure the equipment is used correctly. As part of my role I am a MOVE trainer and I am developing the implementation of the MOVE programme across the health board. The aim of the MOVE programme is to offer movement opportunities to disabled people, through education and I work closely with education staff and the multidisciplinary team to address the needs of children with complex disability.
My current role and previous positions have given me experience working with a wide variety of children with neurodisability, multi-pathology and complex needs including cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, acquired spinal injury, neuromuscular conditions, epilepsy and neurological infections.
Within my previous physiotherapy practice in the hospital setting, I worked through specialties within Noah's Arc Children's Hospital for Wales (NACHFW), in neurology, oncology, trauma, orthopaedics and respiratory. I have worked with children along the entire care pathway from being acutely unwell or post-surgery on PICU, the early stages of rehabilitation, discharge planning and continued rehabilitation and physiotherapy management in the community.
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.