Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, MSc in Rehabilitation Studies
I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1996 from the University of Brighton. After gaining experience in the core areas of Physiotherapy as a Junior Physiotherapist, I worked in various locum posts while waiting for a post in amputee rehabilitation to become available. In 2001 I gained my first post in a prosthetic Centre.
I am currently working as the Lead Amputee Physiotherapist at a local community hospital. Our service is a hub for amputees living in the North of the county. My role is to lead and manage the out-patient amputee service, and provide clinical advice and support to colleagues working with amputees within the wider Trust.
I recently set up practice in the private sector as an independent physiotherapist, offering amputee rehabilitation in a local clinic, or in a client’s own home. Drawing on my extensive experience of working in amputee rehabilitation within the NHS, the treatment that I can offer includes assessing a client’s needs, planning treatment, goal-setting and rehabilitation, whether that is with a prosthesis, or not. I have experience of working with a variety of prosthetic componentry, including micro-processor knees. I also offer pain management, specifically for the relief of phantom limb pain.
I previously worked at Bristol Centre for Enablement as a Specialist Physiotherapist in Amputee Rehabilitation. I had a large clinical caseload of predominantly adult lower limb amputees, but I also treated some children. These patients had a range of causes for their amputations – congenital, vascular, diabetes, trauma, infection. I mainly treated patients with single limb loss, but also have experience of patients with multiple limb loss. Our Centre received many War Veterans who used high-end prosthetic componentry, which enhanced my knowledge and skills in this area. If these patients wished to upgrade their prosthetic componentry, I was involved in the assessment of outcome measures to demonstrate a clinical need for the change, and I then contributed to the application process. NHS England have approved a policy for provision of microprocessor knees (MPKs). This means that I took part in regular assessment clinics to review patient’s eligibility for an MPK. I then trained patients to use an MPK and assessed outcome measures to demonstrate the clinical need for the MPK.
In 2010 I gained a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Studies, completing modules in Introductory Biomechanics, Lower Limb Prosthetic Biomechanics, Clinical Gait Analysis, Research Methodology and Data Analysis. I am an active member of the British Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Amputee Rehabilitation (Bacpar), and I have previously been the editor of the Bacpar Journal and held the post of Treasurer. I led on the development of the Bacpar Toolbox of Outcome Measures, published in 2011.
I accept instruction 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.