Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, MSc Global Health and Development
I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1999 and initially gained experience in all core physiotherapy areas before specialising in neurosciences and neurology in 2003. I have worked within the specialism in acute hospitals, rehabilitation units through to community-based rehabilitation.
From 2005 to 2007 I worked as a senior physiotherapist in a specialist spinal injuries unit, based in Auckland, New Zealand. The role incorporated both inpatient rehabilitation and out-patient services which included outreach work to different parts of North Island New Zealand. This team provided holistic assessment consultations locally giving specialist advice to clients, local therapists and medical practitioners. The focus of this team was to ensure people living with spinal cord injury were continuing to live well and their particular needs were being met.
In 2009 I completed a Masters in Global health and development, with a focus on disability, through University College London. This provided an opportunity to develop further depth of knowledge in the relationships between disability, culture, gender and society. The Masters culminated in research into lived perspectives on accessing healthcare for women and men with disability on a small island. The experience and learning at Masters level has given me a further depth of knowledge and skills in the wider constructs around living with neurological disability aiding greater understanding of client’s individual life-long experiences.
I took the post as a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in neurology and neurodisability (Band 8a) in a busy London community neurology service in 2010. The team provided therapy services for people with a wide range and complexity of neurological conditions and presentations. This role encompassed leadership on best practice, evidence based physiotherapy, formal supervision and clinical teaching for a team of therapists and I provided mentorship for a Masters research student.
Since this time I have had a second temporary move to New Zealand, where I lead on improvements to community based service delivery and service development initiatives as well as providing physiotherapy for people with needs for both rehabilitation and long term conditions.
I returned to the UK in early 2014 and moved into private neurological physiotherapy, setting up my own practice. I worked part time in brain injury case management for two years and then returned to full time work in private physiotherapy practice.
Throughout my career I have worked with clients with a variety of neurological conditions including but not limited to brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and cerebral palsy.
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.