Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc Physiotherapy, MSc Professional Health Studies
On qualifying as Physiotherapist from Queens College, Glasgow (1992), I started junior rotations in the North Staffordshire teaching hospitals. I soon moved to a senior rotational post within neurosciences and rehabilitation. During the years in this role, I gained skills in neurosurgery, neurology, complex rehab and elderly rehabilitation.
In 1996 I moved to New Zealand where I worked in a unit for Spinal Cord Injuries and Neurological Rehabilitation. Here I thrived on the new challenges of re-establishing spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury clients into their changed lives. Here I gained new practical skills (PNF, movement science), alongside wheelchair prescription which was the role of the physiotherapist at the time.
Since returning to the UK in 1999, I have worked at Harrogate and District Hospital (North Yorks) as a Principal Physiotherapist (8a) for the Acute and community stroke teams: acute neurology inpatient and out-patient teams (PT and OT). I have been integral in setting up the acute stroke unit and the community stroke and neuro team, which were not in existence previously. Within this role I regularly undertake clinical work either in the stroke / neurological rehab unit, out-patients or community.
In 2013, I created my independent physiotherapy service and I treat clients in their own homes who come to me directly or as the treating therapist via case management. As part of my independent work I have trained and presented workshops all over the country and as a guest lecturer at York St John University on the topics of Rehabilitation Principles, Facilitation, PNF and Managing the “Walking Wounded”.
I thrive on the complex challenges that clients present throughout their journey in my NHS and independent role. The specialist assessments, treatments and functional improvements that I facilitate in those with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, progressive conditions (eg MS Parkinson’s), cerebral palsy and learning disabilities keep me driven as a physiotherapist.
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.