Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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MSc Occupational Therapy, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2005 and continued my professional development by completing postgraduate training in sensory integration, postural management and upper limb splinting. In 2013 I completed my MSc in Occupational Therapy, studying modules in Challenging Behaviour and Neurorehabilitation. In 2019 I completed my postgraduate certificate in Sensory Integration and qualified as an Advanced Practitioner of Ayres Sensory Integration.
I have spent a majority of my career working with children with neurological and developmental disabilities. This work has been conducted in the NHS, private and charitable sectors, both in the UK and abroad. While working in the NHS, I ran assessment clinics for children with Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy and developed upper limb therapy and splinting services. As part of the treatment plans for these children, I provided advice on equipment for school and home. I also conducted direct therapy sessions, as well as trained carers and parents to complete therapeutic activities.
In 2012, I moved from London to Cornwall. My knowledge of long term conditions and equipment led me to a role managing the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Wheelchair Service. My role included providing complex postural management and mobility assessments for both adults and children with mainly neurological based conditions. I was also an active member on the National Wheelchair Manager’s Forum.
In 2017, I left the wheelchair service to work as a self employed Occupational Therapist, for both the private and NHS sectors, and a Case Manager. In 2021, I left case management to form a community interest company, Nikki White Therapy. The CIC provides treatment and advice to families and young people in Cornwall via a team of therapists and administration staff. As a result of these roles I have experience in providing intensive and ongoing direct treatment, training and advice (including contributing to educational and health care plans), resourcing services and equipment and supporting care packages.
In addition to my clinical work, I also sit on the board for the Royal College of Occupational Therapy’s (RCOT) specialist section for children, young people and families. As a board member, I support children’s occupational therapists throughout the UK on a variety of clinic and non-clinical issues as well as contribute to RCOT publications and research.
During the course of my work as an Expert Witness, I have been required to attend Educational Tribunals and also to give evidence in Court.
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 the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.