Personal Care Consultants Ltd was established in Chester in 1997. We engage highly experienced associate professionals from social work, occupational therapy and nursing backgrounds to undertake our wide range of services.
Our head office staff in Chester provide our self-employed associates with full, high quality, administrative and secretarial support together with a consistent and reliable telephone answering and messaging service.
Personal Care Consultants provides a wide range of assessment services to Local Authority Social Services Departments, Primary Care Trusts, Local Health Boards and Solicitors for both claimant and defence. We have a wide range of skills and expertise in assessment across all adult client groups. As well as work with older people we are able to work with people with complex needs and have specific skills in learning disability, physical disability and acquired brain injury. Visit our Expert Witness, Occupational Therapy and Risk Assessment pages to see the various services we can provide.
Personal Care Consultants provides high quality training services to a wide range of commissioners and is an Edexcel Approved Centre. We have developed courses across a wide range of topics in health and social care and pride ourselves on being able to provide a bespoke service, including local policy and documentation where required. Visit our Training pages to see our wide range of courses.
Personal Care Consultants provide case management services to people following catastrophic personal injuries or situations of clinical negligence. We specialise in working with children and adults who have acquired brain injury and also who have behavioural difficulties. Visit our Case Management page to learn more about the services we offer.
Personal Care Consultants engages independent social workers, occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, orthotists and clinical psychologists. Our consultants are a group of highly experienced and skilled professionals and we provide them with full administrative support from our head offices in Chester. Our head office staff ensure all associates have high quality, responsive secretarial support and also provide a consistent and reliable telephone messaging service. The prevailing ethos of Personal Care Consultants Ltd is co-operation rather than competition and there are high levels of formal and informal supervision and support.
If you are a Social Worker, Occupational Therapist, Nurse, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Psychiatrist or Psychologist and are interested in working with Personal Care Consultants please forward your CV to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the names below to see each Associate’s professional profile.
Gareth Pennell - Independent Nurse Consultant
Gareth Pennell initially worked in various health care settings that included both private nursing homes for the elderly mentally infirm and at Wirral Hospital NHS Trust. Mr Pennell then went on to undertake his professional nurse training at North East Wales NHS Trust and studied towards a diploma in nursing at Bangor University, Wales, which he completed in 1997.
Following the successful completion of his nurse training Mr Pennell went to work within the busy Accident and Emergency Department at Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Within his role he was responsible for delivering effective emergency care to a wide range of patient groups including children, adolescents, adults, elderly and those with physical and mental illness.
As Gareth’s knowledge and skills developed he took on a senior nursing role. Here he was responsible for the management of a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals within a very demanding department.
As part of his continued professional development Mr Pennell went on to undertaken further University Education at John Moores University, Liverpool. He successfully completed a Diploma in Specialised A&E Nursing and a teaching and assessing qualification (awarded by the English National Board) in 2000.
Gareth returned to Wirral Hospital NHS Trust and diversified into a dual role working both as an Occupational Health Advisor and Manual Handling Advisor.
As part of his occupational health work his responsibilities included carrying our pre-employment screening, vaccination programmes, assessing clients with injuries sustained in the workplace and illnesses.
As part of his manual handling role, responsibilities included the design and implementation of manual handling policy and delivering up to date research based manual handling training programmes. He also offered pro-active advice to clients, management and a wide range of health care providers. He used a problem solving approach to provide solutions in relation to all manual handling activities. This was often achieved following effective manual handling risk assessments.
In August 2005 Gareth commenced employment in the private sector with Personal Care Consultants (PCC) as an Consultant Nurse Practitioner. His main duties and responsibilities within this role included offering consultancy and carrying our risk assessments in a variety of care settings.
In August 2007 Mr Pennell formed Pro-Active Care Solutions. Still working on behalf of Personal Care Consultants he provides independent risk assessments in relation to manual handling operations of people and inanimate loads for various local authorities as well as in relation to litigation proceedings. Gareth delivers various health and social care training courses including BTEC Advanced Certificate in People Handling Skills, Infection Control, Tissue Viability and Safeguarding Adults. He has also developed a Personal Care and Medication training course which has been sold to various local authorities. He is responsible for preparing reports for use in judicial review, personal injury and clinical negligence litigation.
Following significant experience Gareth heads up Personal Care Consultants case management team, providing support to various clients with acquired brain injury and/or spinal injuries. Mr Pennell is also a member of BABICM.
Gareth maintains his continued professional development by attending a wide range of relevant study days, conferences and formal training courses each year. Mr Pennell is accountable to, and is registered with, the Nursing and Midwifery Council. He is also an active member of the National Back Exchange.
Chris Wall - Independent Social Worker
Chris Wall qualified as a social worker in 1984 with a Certificate in Social Services (CSS). He also holds a post graduate Diploma in Management Studies (DMS). He is a Registered Social Worker (RSW).
Chris provides independent assessment services both to the courts and public authorities. Chris has recently retired as Chief Executive (following the sale of his shareholding) of a company providing care and support to people with what is described as severely challenging behaviour due to learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum disorders. He had been in this role since 2004.
Chris has provided evidence to the Courts as an independent social worker since 1997 in several hundred cases relating to Judicial Review and medico-legal matters. Chris has provided independent Best Interests reports in numerous Declaratory Relief proceedings in the High Court/Court of Protection instructed through the Official Solicitor, mainly as a single joint expert, but on occasion singly.
Chris provides consultancy and social care training to many local authorities, PCTs and NHS Trusts on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Sch A1 Mental Health Act 2007). Further he has developed specialist training on s15, 16 and 17 MCA 2005 (as amended MHA 2007) and their relationship to safeguarding adults and declarations through the Court of Protection. He has developed risk assessment tools for use by those determining whether there is a high enough risk of Deprivation of Liberty to warrant authorisation by a Supervisory Body. He is teaching on the Manchester University Best Interest Assessor course which is approved under the Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty: Standard Authorisations, Assessments and Ordinary Residence) Regulations 2008 as qualifying training for Best Interests Assessors.
Before working as an independent social worker through Personal Care Consultants and for the aforementioned company Chris was Chief Executive of a larger company providing residential and nursing care to a range of clients who are described as having behaviour which challenges services. Some of these people were detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 and in order to manage this Chris had to demonstrate a full working knowledge of the Mental Health Act as it applies in this type of setting.
Prior to this Chris was Director of Operations for a company providing over 5,000 hours per week of domiciliary care to a range of client groups including older people and people with dementia.
Prior to working in the independent sector he was a third tier officer in a Social Services Department. He managed 5 social work teams through five Team Managers, an Occupational Therapy Team and the Home Care Service. His main emphasis was on purchasing and contracting for Residential, Nursing and Domiciliary Care and the assessment and care management elements of the NHS and Community Care Act.
The teams covered all adult client groups including Older People, People with Mental Health Problems, Adults with Learning Disabilities, Adults with Physical Disabilities, People with Sensory Impairments, People with Acquired Brain Injury and People who are HIV+ or have AIDS.
Before this he was a Service Manager in a large County Council where he was accountable for all direct services to adults with a learning disability in one of the Districts of the Department – population 197,200. These services included 2 residential homes and domiciliary support networks, 2 day centres and support networks, 2 social work teams and the monitoring and purchasing of all ‘out of district’ placements.
Chris has had to closely liaise with other agencies such as Health Authorities, Education Departments, Housing Associations, Voluntary Agencies, City and Borough Council Housing Departments and Elected Members. He has participated in service planning, control, monitoring, review and evaluation.
Chris’s areas of expertise are in assessment, case management, working with people whose behaviours challenge, learning disability, older people, physical disability, service development, management, marketing negotiation, motivation and information technology.
In 2000 Chris was appointed to the S.S.I.W. (Social Services Inspectorate Wales) ‘fee paid’ inspection panel and was contracted to carry out inspections of Local Authority Social Services Departments on an ‘inspection by inspection’ basis. He has since provided ongoing consultancy to the Welsh Assembly Government on issues relating to the development of the Unified Assessment Process in Wales.
Dawn Whitaker - Independent Social Worker
1) Lecturer in Social Work: Dept. of Sociology, Lancaster University:
Areas of interest include, critical approaches to adult mental health, working with adults at risk, and human rights. Teaching is aimed at enabling students to apply reflexivity and critical thinking to the application of theory in practice.
2) Independent Social Work Consultant (Nationally):
This work involves accepting instruction(s) to provide independent witness reports on matters relating to mental health, mental capacity, learning disability, best interests, safeguarding adults, judicial review and human rights. This has meant working in the High Court / Court of Protection, instructed through the official solicitor, as a single and joint witness (in over 20 cases).
Continuing Professional Development Training:
This has involved being commissioned as an independent social work consultant by numerous local authorities, health trusts; and the Court of Protection, to deliver CPD, to a range of different professionals (pre-and-post professional qualification). Examples include, The Mental Capacity Act; Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards; Complex Decision Making in Best Interests; Person Centred Planning; Risk Enablement in Health and Social Care; Understanding Loss and Bereavement in Older Adults; Caring for Adult Offspring with Impairment; and Supervision Skills.
Previous Academic and Professional Posts:
Associate Lecturer at Lancaster University: From 2005 – 2013
This involved the development and delivery of over twenty different University social work modules, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Mental Capacity Act Implementation Lead: August 2008 – Dec 2010
Implementation of the ‘Mental Capacity Act 2005’ including, ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ across a regional health and social care economy. Based in a large PCT, this involved working across all provider and commissioning services; including three hospital trusts, locality G.P surgeries, and associated care homes. The majority of this work related to adults whose mental capacity to make decisions was in question. The aim was to embed a human rights approach within regional adult health and social care services; and improve the experience of people who use services, and their families and carers.
Area Mental Capacity Act Training Officer: Dec 2007 – August 2008 (Secondment)
To devise and implement a county-wide Mental Capacity Act training strategy, tailored to the needs of different stakeholders in health and social care organisations and community groups.
Social Worker and AMHP: Aug 2003 – Dec 2008
This involved complex case management and care coordination, to deliver a range of services in accordance with the Care Programme Approach. This included undertaking the specialist statutory role of ‘Approved Mental Health Practitioner’ (previously ASW), to discharge duties under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007).
Academic and Professional Qualifications:
Lancaster University 2013 – 2014
PG Certificate in Academic Practice
Manchester University 2008
Post Graduate Approved ‘Best Interest Assessor’ Training
Manchester University 2005 – 2006
Post Graduate Professional ‘Approved Mental Health Practitioner’ Award
Manchester University 2004 – 2005
Post Graduate Professional ‘Mental Health Award’ (PQ1)
Lancaster University 2001 – 2003
MA in Applied Social Science: First Class with Distinction
Including a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work (PgDipSW)
Teesside University 1994 – 1997
Bsc (Hons) Degree Psychology
Fletcher, D. (2004) Reform of the Mental Health Act 1983: opportunity or catastrophe for social work?. Norwich: University of East Anglia. [Maiden name]
Whitaker, D. (2013) ‘Introducing Risk in the Context of Social Work Practice.’ In Edmondson, D. (ed.) A Complete Guide to Social Work Learning. London: Sage. (Pgs. 121-137).
Whitaker, D. (2014) ‘Social Justice for Safeguarded Adults Deprived of their Liberty in the UK?’. Disability and Society. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2014.948752.
Phd: ‘Safeguarding adults at risk from statutory safeguarding processes – a human rights approach’
Ming-yuin Nagel - Independent Social Worker
Ming-yuin Nagel has been an independent social worker and trainer since 2011. In 2014, she became a Director of Integritas Support. Ming obtained her MA/DipSW (Distinction) from the University of Nottingham in 2006 and qualified as a best interests assessor through the University of Birmingham in 2013.
Since that time, a number of Ming’s independent capacity and/or best interests assessments have been used as evidence within the Court of Protection or have pre-empted the need for court, and through her work with complex cases and individuals Ming has forged an outstanding reputation within her area’s Local Authorities for tenacity, diligence, and practice that meets both the spirit and letter of the law.
Ming undertakes independent social circumstances assessments commissioned by solicitors, providing written and oral evidence for First-Tier Tribunals (Mental Health). Alongside social work, Ming develops and delivers differentiated and value-based training to a range of professionals. The training includes sessions on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), and Ming currently works with the University of Birmingham to provide post-qualifying education to trainee best interests assessors across the East and West Midlands.
Ming was employed as a best interests assessor for a Local Authority DoLS team for four months in 2014 before deciding that, post-Supreme Court judgment, her skills and way of working would be more ethically and lawfully put to use outside of statutory services. Also in 2014, she completed “East Midlands Adult Safeguarding Board ‘Stage 2’: Deputy and Appointeeships by Local Authorities in the East Midlands”, an extensive scoping project commissioned by EMASB.
From 2013 to 2016, Ming used her knowledge and experience within secure mental health settings to provide long-arm, independent social work supervision to successive forensic mental health social workers employed in a private secure hospital. Ming has been a Practice Mentor Assessor for a trainee AMHP and for several years has provided feedback through the University of Birmingham as a draft reader for candidates undertaking their AMHP and BIA qualifications. For the past two years she has additionally provided individualized consultation and mentoring to Local Authority practitioners undertaking capacity assessments in both Adult and Children’s/Transitions services. She also currently works as a paid Relevant Person’s Representative under DoLS for an individual placed out of his home area.
Prior to her substantive employment with Integritas, most of Ming’s social work career has been in the field of forensic mental health. She carried a caseload with Nottingham’s integrated Community Forensic Team for three years (2007 – 2010) and qualified as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) in 2009. From January 2010 until January 2013, she worked at Rampton Hospital as a Senior Forensic Social Work Practitioner on the Peaks Unit, which catered to adult males who were assessed as having severe (complex) personality disorder and considered to be a serious risk of harm to others. She also worked across the other Rampton directorates (i.e. with individuals with diagnosed mental illnesses apart from personality disorder; and within the National High Secure Women’s, Learning Disabilities, and Deaf Services) for admission assessment purposes, seclusion reviews, and as an Adult Safeguarding investigator.
Ming worked on a temporary basis for the Leicester City Adult Learning Disabilities Team (2006) and has also worked substantively with older adults for the Rushcliffe Borough Council Assessment and Care Management Team (2004). Since obtaining residency in the UK and prior to achieving her MA in social work, much of Ming’s work involved the education of both of groups and individuals in “non-mainstream” settings. She was a sessional lecturer at HMYOI Glen Parva and a sessional tutor for LEAP (Literacy Education into Achievement Project) through the Anubis Trust. Both posts involved working with disaffected young people from a range of racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. For two and a half years within 2002-2004, she was employed at Birkett House, a special needs school in Wigston, Leicester that caters for students aged five to 19 who have severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities. She worked consecutively at that school as a cross-departmental Music Instructor and as a Learning Support Assistant, and for seven years was a respite carer for one of her former pupils.
Ming’s personal background and identity in Britain as an expatriated woman with racially and culturally mixed heritage has strongly influenced her decision to work in a field that still champions diversity and combats disadvantage. Her varied interests and experiences in different parts of the world, encountering people from a wide range of socio-economic, cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds and lifestyles, serve to inform her enthusiasm and commitment to best practice within a professional sphere.
Wendy Silberman - Independent Social Worker
Wendy Silberman has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and qualified as a social worker in 1987 (post-graduate certificate in Applied Social Studies, Certificate of Qualification of Social Work) and is a Registered Social Worker. She also obtained her Diploma in Mental Health, Approved Social Work in 1990, Best Interests Assessor qualification in 2009 and the Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) in 2010.
Wendy provides independent social care assessments for First-Tier Tribunals, Mental Health (since 2000); Capacity Assessments and Best Interests Assessments as a BIA for Local Authorities and Trusts since 2009. She is currently a visiting Lecturer to the University of Birmingham, Department of Social Policy and Social Work and has been since 2008. Wendy has delivered modules on the post-qualifying award for Social Work with Adults (Developments in the Legislative Framework and Safeguarding). She continues to develop, update and deliver their Best Interests Assessment Course approved under the Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty, Standard Authorisations, Assessments and Ordinary Residence) Regulations 2008 for Best Interests Assessors across the East and West Midlands communities. She also assessed their submissions from 2009 – 2015.
Wendy worked in statutory services from 1981 – 2000 as a social work practitioner, Approved Social Worker and Social Work Manager, beginning in Children’s Services (1981 – 1990) and Adult Mental Health and Forensic Services (1990 – 2000). She worked for the Trent Region NHS Executive as the Project Manager for “Modernising the Care Programme Approach” (2000 – 2003), was a Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chair of a large NHS Acute Trust (2001 – 2006), and an Independent Advisor to the Provider Arm of Nottingham City PCT (2009 – 2011). In order to maintain her direct contact and support of service users and their families, Wendy formed and led a Community Interests Company, from 2006 – 2012. This social enterprise provided independent social work assessments, training and free advocacy to individuals at risk, who were affected by crime and poverty and profiled in Nottingham City’s Vulnerable People’s Panels. The CIC supported 50 individuals per year with complex health and social care needs. This service was chosen as one of ten Cabinet Office Local Inclusion Lab areas for Resolving Multiple Disadvantages in 2011. Wendy also developed and delivered the Level 3 Certificate in Independent Advocacy and Level 3 Diploma in Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy – Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards National Qualification, accredited by City and Guilds, commissioned by the Carers Federation from 2010 – 2014.
In 2009, Wendy established a small, independent social work and training company called Integritas Support. This enabled the transformation of the CIC into an independent charity, which has been successfully sustained following her departure.
Wendy has also been an Associate Hospital Manager to a small, private independent hospital that provided care and treatment to adults with profound and multiple disabilities from communities throughout England, from 2014-2016. She is a Board Member to a service user-led Training and Consultancy CIC called “We Can Do It”, which is comprised of adults with Learning Disabilities who teach, review services and advocate on behalf of individuals who live in supported housing or residential care.
Wendy has had the privilege of supporting children, families and adults for over 35 years in England. She has worked across a broad range of ages, service user groups and diagnoses. She has undertaken independent Safeguarding Reviews and complex community care assessments for prisoners, and is called upon to provide cogently argued and thorough mental health, mental capacity and best interests assessments where there is a disagreement, dispute or impasse for individuals supported by NHS Trusts and Local Authorities. She is a passionate advocate of the Mental Capacity Act.
Elizabeth Hardy - Independent Occupational Therapist
ELIZABETH HARDY Dip COT qualified as an Occupational Therapist from the Liverpool College of Occupational Therapy in 1977 and as a Manual Handling Adviser from the University of Northumbria @ Newcastle in March 2000. In 2009 Ms Hardy was registered as a principal instructor to deliver physical intervention training and risk assessment accredited by the BILD (British Institute of Learning Difficulties) Physical Interventions Accreditation Scheme.
Ms Hardy initially worked as a Basic Grade, Senior II and Senior I Occupational Therapist for an Area Health Authority. She gained clinical experience in neurology, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, acute medical rehabilitation and mental health. This work encompassed the functional and specific assessment of the patient and the treatment and rehabilitation of differing patient groups.
She eventually specialised in neurology and for two and a half years managed a multidisciplinary team treating and rehabilitating patients who had an acquired brain injury.
Ms Hardy’s community skills were then developed by working as a community based Occupational Therapist for Social Services. She gained experience by working with adults and children with physical disability, learning disability and mental health problems. This role included:
maintaining clients in the home by the provision of equipment, adaptations and rehabilitation
identifying the needs of disabled people and the associated difficulties of their carers
creating packages of care to meet need
providing support, counselling and practical assistance to meet need
For the following eighteen months Ms Hardy became the Team Manager of a Specialist Disability Services Team working within Social Services. She held management responsibility for the Occupational Therapy Team, the Specialist Team for Deaf People, the Team for the Visually Impaired and Architectural Consultancy. This enabled her to develop a professional awareness of Deaf Culture and the problems of people with sensory impairment. She has a broad knowledge base of the equipment; adaptations and support systems available to promote independence, improve communication and enhance awareness of these client groups.
Ms Hardy has been working in private practice since 1992, offering the services of consultancy, training, assessment, rehabilitation and case management to individuals with disabilities or to specific agencies working with and supporting clients with a range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities. She currently works as a trainer delivering training on Manual Handling Operations, Physical Intervention, Risk Assessment, Enablement / Rehabilitation Skills, Intermediate Care, Person Centred and Outcome Focused Care Planning . She provides independent risk assessment in relation to the manual handling of people and loads and has experience of work site evaluation. She also undertakes physical intervention risk assessments. Ms Hardy has considerable experience in designing and assisting with the implementation of manual handling policy and procedure in both private and statutory services.
Since 1994, Ms Hardy has developed her skills as a Consultant preparing reports for use in Judicial Review, personal injury and clinical negligence litigation. She has given evidence in several landmark rulings including A & B and X & Y vs East Sussex County Council in relation to manual handling / human rights.
Ms Hardy founded Personal Care Consultants in 1997 with a colleague, Chris Wall. In 2003 they initiated Inclusive Lifestyles Ltd, specialising in residential care provision for adults with learning difficulties and acquired brain injury whose behaviour can be considered to be oppositional to traditional services. The service also cares for and supports individuals with complex physical management and medical needs who often require invasive medical intervention. One of the units was an autism sensitive residential care service. Inclusive Lifestyles Ltd managed supported living houses providing support to young people with learning disabilities and additional complex needs and behaviours across Wirral and North East Wales. A Community Support service funded largely through ILF, Direct Payments or Personal Budgets, provided support on an hourly basis enabling people to get out and about in the community or to plan, organise and complete jobs at home. Inclusive Lifestyles Ltd was registered in England and Wales to support a range of clients with complex needs within their own home. Inclusion by Design, a property management company was initiated to underpin the care provision also formed part of the Inclusion Holdings Group.
In August 2007, Personal Care Consultants was released from the Inclusion Holdings Group. Ms Hardy remained a director of the Inclusion Holdings Group and was involved with the day to day running of the care services. To enable Ms Hardy to continue in her role as expert witness, she set up Elizabeth A Hardy Ltd and continues to undertake work on behalf of Personal Care Consultants. In August 2011 the Inclusion Holdings Group was acquired by a market leader in health and social care. Ms Hardy retired from her Directorship.
Personal Care Consultants is an approved Edexcel Training and Assessment Centre and their trainers deliver a range of BTEC Awards and Certificates pertaining to current social and health care practice. Ms Hardy has been responsible for developing a number of accredited courses the BTEC Award in the Provision of Community Equipment (compliant with the competency framework for Trusted Assessors) and the BTEC Advanced Certificate in People Handling Skills. These courses are commissioned by a range of statutory services nationally.
Mrs Hardy also continues to work as an independent case manager.
Ms Hardy is a registered member of the Health Professions Council (registration number OT 08819), a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, the Occupational Therapists Special Interest Group, the Local and National Back Exchange Group and the British Association of Brain Injury Case Managers. She is registered as a principal instructor with BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities) Physical Interventions Accreditation Scheme (certificate number 001295).
Helen Sheard - Independent Occupational Therapist
Helen Sheard qualified as an Occupational Therapist from the Astley Ainsley College of Occupational Therapy in Edinburgh in 1976 and as a Manual Handling Advisor from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in July 1998.
She initially worked as a Basic Grade, Senior II and Senior I Occupational Therapist for a number of Area Health Authorities. During this time she gained experience in mental health, orthopaedics, acute medical rehabilitation, learning disabilities and rehabilitation of the elderly. This work encompassed the functional and specific assessment of the patient and the treatment and rehabilitation of differing patient groups.
She eventually specialised in rehabilitation of the elderly becoming a Head IV Occupational Therapist in a small community hospital. This involved providing an occupational therapy service for the two 20 bedded wards (one GP ward and one elderly rehabilitation), a day hospital for the elderly and out-patients.
Having spent a number of years in the health service, Ms Sheard moved into social services gaining employment as a Manual Handling Advisor and Trainer. During this employment she completed a six week modular course for Manual Handling Trainers and Facilitators at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. Her role as a Manual Handling advisor in social services included:
Setting up a four day instructor programme in Safer Handling for senior care staff to enable them to carry out training
Training of staff, predominantly care staff within social services and also agency staff
Providing specialised manual handling assessments
Providing guidance with regards to manual handling policy
After three years working in the field of manual handling both for Warrington Social Services and Stockport Social Services, Ms Sheard moved back into the health service to work as a Senior I OT for a community health trust. The role involved the assessment and rehabilitation of the elderly.
In June 2001 Ms Sheard moved into private practice to work for Personal Care Consultants based in Chester. Personal Care Consultants specialise in the following:
Manual Handling training for a number of social services departments and Primary Care Trusts around the North West and North Wales.
Specialist Manual Handling Risk Assessments for social services. Health and private clients, including for solicitors with regards to clinical negligence cases both for the defence and for the claimant.
Assessments and reports for use in personal injury, clinical negligence litigation and Judicial Review.
Modular Reablement courses for a variety of Social Services Departments focussing on the Personalisation Agenda and Outcome Focussed Care.
Case Management of a variety of clients with problems associated with acquired brain injury and personal injury.
Helping out with OT waiting lists for social services departments in the North West and North Wales.
Workstation assessments for people with back problems.
Delivering training for the BTEC Advanced Award in Provision of Community Equipment.
Delivering training for the BTEC Advanced Certificate in People Handling Skills.
Since joining in 2001 Ms Sheard has been heavily involved in setting up the two BTEC courses, and in presenting both of these courses. She continues to be heavily involved in manual handling training and enablement and rehabilitation training. Ms Sheard also conitnues to practice as a private OT doing work for social services departments and private individuals. Ms Sheard has also completed a number of work related workstation assessments. She is also involved in the area of case management where the emphasis is on occupational therapy.
Ms Sheard is constantly involved in profiling training courses for local authorities in particular for Reablement Skills. She has also profiled special one off courses in Bariatric Manual Handling and Managing Challenging Behaviour in Dementia clients.
Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Work
Since 2001 Ms Sheard has carried out and completed a number of clinical negiglence and personal injury assessments and reports. These covered a range of conditions as follows:
Orthopaedic including hand injuries
Acquired brain injury
Spinal cord injuries
Manual handling risk assessments
Disability Living Allowance and Invalidity Benefit appeals
Although Ms Sheard is now self employed she continues to carry out work for Personal Care Consultants.
Ms Sheard’s particular area of expertise is within the specialist manual handling of people but she has experience in all areas for which she carries out clinical negligence work.
Ms Sheard is registered with the Health Professionals Council, is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, a member of the National Back Exchange and a member of BABICM (British Association of Brain Injury Case Managers).
Ms Sheard continues to keep up to date with current practice and attends regular local Back Exchange Group meetings, the National Back Exchange Conference and any BABICM conferences/local meetings that are held.
Angela Carter - Independent Occupational Therapist
Angela Carter qualified as an Occupational Therapist from St Katherine’s College in Liverpool in July 1990 and qualified for the Diploma in Patient Handling and Moving at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle in July 2003.
Ms Carter initially worked as a Community Occupational Therapist for a large Social Services department where she was responsible for assessing and making recommendations to meet the needs of people of all ages with a range of physical disabilities, mental health problems and learning difficulties. This involved maintaining people in their own homes by providing adaptations, equipment and advice on alternative methods of daily living activities, providing support, counselling and assessments of carers’ needs. She worked closely with Surveyors and Design Consultants to provide suitable solutions to overcome disability and assisted people with the process of rehousing.
Whilst employed as a Social Services occupational therapist, Ms Carter worked as a Senior Practitioner and Manager of the Disability Services team supervising occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, surveyors, sensory impairment care managers, interpreters and support workers.
Ms Carter was responsible for dealing with the most complex cases in the Department, the prioritisation and allocation of work, queries and complaints, overseeing budgets, recruitment interviewing and selection and staff training. Her work regularly involved liaising with Solicitors, Elected Council members and Members of Parliament as well as Local Authority staff, Health Services staff and the Voluntary sector.
In January 2002, Ms Carter started to work for Personal Care Consultants using her skills as a consultant occupational therapist and manual handling risk assessor to prepare reports for use in Judicial Review, personal injury and clinical negligence litigation. She worked as a case manager, as part of a multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary team involved in the management of complex cases. Ms Carter also provided reports for solicitors regarding appeals for Disability Living Allowance claims.
In August 2007, Ms Carter set up AVM Consultants Ltd. and continues to work as a trainer and routinely delivering training BTEC Advanced Award in Community Equipment, BTEC Advanced Certificate in People Handling Skills, Outcome Focussed Planning, Enablement/Rehabilitation Skills and Manual Handling Operations and Risk Assessment courses.
Ms Carter has carried our numerous Occupational Therapy assessments for various local authorities overseeing the work to completion of major adaptations. Ms Carter also provides independent risk assessment in relation to manual handling operations of people and loads, she has experience of work site evaluation. She is fully conversant with the process of designing and assisting with the implementation of policy and procedure in both private and statutory services. She has attended numerous training courses to keep abreast of current changes and for her own professional development.
Ms Carter is a State Registered Occupational Therapist of the Health Professionals council, a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and also a member of the Local and National Back Exchange.
Natalie Martin - Independent Occupational Therapist
Natalie Martin qualified as an Occupational therapist from Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy, Oxford in 1990 and more recently graduating from Loughborough University in 2008 with an MSc in Back Care Management.
She initially worked as a Basic Grade, Senior 11 and Senior 1 Occupational Therapist for a number of health authorities in the West Midlands. During this time she gained experience in neurology, acute medical rehabilitation, spinal injuries, young disabled unit, orthopaedics, rheumatology, mental health and rehabilitation of the elderly. This work was a combination of inpatient and outpatient functional assessments and treatment.
Following a move to Wales, Ms Martin eventually specialised in neurology and became a Head IV Occupational Therapist on a stroke rehabilitation unit for five and a half years. This work encompassed the functional assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of patients, supervising OT staff, teaching on the diploma stroke module for nurses, environmental assessments for discharge, wheelchair assessments and moving and handling risk assessments and care plans.
Having worked in the health service for several years, Ms Martin moved to social services undertaking assessments for adults and children with physical disability, learning disability and mental health problems. After working in Social services for three years, Ms Martin became the lead Occupational therapist for children with disabilities and continues to work with children and young people. This role includes:
Assessing children with a range of physical, learning and challenging behaviours including brain injury and children diagnosed with Autistic spectrum disorder.
Identifying the equipment and adaptations needs of children in their own homes and in respite facilities.
Manual handling risk assessments and care plans for a range of environments including a child’s / young person’s home, respite and leisure facilities.
Design of specialist slings for children with complex needs.
Complex adaptations, including liaison with architects and builders.
Manual handling training of staff including care staff employed privately by the parents/ guardians.
Transportation and vehicle assessments.
Providing guidance with regards to manual handling policy.
Negotiating budget responsibilities with key agencies.
In November 2008 Ms Martin became an associate for Personal Care Consultants based in Chester. Ms Martin is now self employed and continues to carry out work for Personal Care Consultants specilising in the following:
Assessment and reports for use in personal injury, clinical negligence litigation and judicial review.
Case Management of a variety of clients with problems associated with acquired brain injury and personal litigation.
Specialist Manual Handling Risk Assessments for social services, health, private clients and for solicitors with regards to clinical negligence cases both for the defence and the claimant.
Occupational Therapy assessments for people with complex needs and oppositional behaviours including sensory processing difficulties.
Manual Handling training for a number of social services departments and Primary Care Trusts around the North West and North Wales.
Providing Occupational Therapy assessments and therefore assisting in the reduction of the OT waiting lists for social services departments in the North West and North Wales.
Workstation assessments for people with back problems.
Delivering training for the BTEC Advanced Award in Provision of Community Equipment.
Delivering training for the BTEC Advanced Certificate in People Handling Skills.
Modular Reablement courses for a variety of Social Services Departments focussing on the Personalisation Agenda and Outcome Focussed Care.
Ms Martin’s particular area of expertise is within the area of child brain injury and the moving and handling of people. Ms Martin has experience in all areas for which she carries out clinical negligence work.
Ms Martin completed an MSc in Back Care Management with her final thesis focusing on the implementation of the All Wales Local Government Manual Handling and Information Passport Scheme.
Ms Martin continues to be an active member of the North Wales and North West Back exchange group and is also registered member of the National Back Exchange. She is registered with the Health Care Professions Board and is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists. Ms Martin is also a member of the NWABI Network Group (North West Acquired Brain Injury) and member of BABICM (British Association of Brain Injury Case Managers).
Ms Martin continues to keep up to date with current practice and regularly attends local Back Exchange meetings, the National Back Exchange Conference, Disabled Living Foundation Moving and Handling Conference (London) and any NWABI network meetings and BABICM meetings.
Janet Barlow - Occupational Therapist
JANET BARLOW qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the University of Liverpool in July 1994.
Janet initially worked as an Occupational Therapist in a large teaching hospital, assessing and making recommendations to meet the needs of people of all ages with a range of orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions. This involved providing adaptations, equipment and advice on alternative ways to carry out daily living activities, providing support, counseling and assessments of carers’ needs.
In 1996 she began working within the specialist area of wheelchair and seating assessment. Working closely with both adults and children and their carers, she took the lead in assisting people to adapt to living with limited mobility and to enhance their independence by recommending adaptions to both their wheelchair and their environment. She worked closely with Social Services OTs, Surveyors and Design Consultants to provide suitable solutions to overcome disability.
In 1999 she specialised in the area of oncology and palliative care, assessing those with life limiting conditions and the complex needs this presents. Working between a day hospice and a large teaching hospital, she also assessed the many needs that their carers and family have and provided formal support for them and bereavement care. Whilst working in this area she founded and took the lead in providing outreach services for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t attend in patient services, this meant coordinating and liaising closely with community care providers. As lead OT she supervised junior OTs, OT assistants, volunteer staff and students.
Throughout her time working in large hospitals Janet was Manual Handling coordinator for therapy services, taking responsibility for organizing and presenting teaching in manual handling safety to all therapy departments.
In 2004 Jan began work with children with disabilities in The Peoples’ Republic in China. This involved assessing and treating children in a state-run orphanage and those in the community living with family and carers. She undertook training with Chinese health care workers in all areas of assessment, rehabilitation, manual handling safety and end of life care. She also trained parents and carers of children in the community in general hygiene and health care techniques and having to use initiative and ingenuity to create adaptations in a poorly resourced country. She supervised volunteers and Chinese staff and liaised regularly with government officials in charge of the orphanage.
On return to the United Kingdom Jan trained for a Masters Degree in Cross-Cultural Leadership and post-graduate qualifications in palliative care. She has attended numerous training courses to keep abreast of current changes and for her own professional development
Jan is a State Registered Occupational Therapist of the Health Professionals council, a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists.
Mark Waldron qualified as an Orthotist from Salford University in 2006 and since then has spent his career gaining experience in many clinical specialties.
From 2006 – 2012 he worked as a junior Orthotist in The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, working in orthopaedic clinics, children’s special schools and rheumatology clinics.
From 2012 – 2016 Mark worked as a Band 7 Senior Orthotist at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry where he specialised in the assessment of and orthotic treatment of children and adult gait pathologies, the orthotic treatment of the diabetic foot and the assessment for and application of scoliosis bracing.
Mark is a dedicated professional with compassion and empathy towards patients both young and old, who strives to achieve high standards of care to those that need his service, and be the best in all that he does to help others.
Mark works well within a team however his skills and experience allow him to make confident decisions using his own initiative. Colleagues have commented on his approachable nature and patients have acknowledged Marks positive can do attitude. This has been reflected in formal compliments via the patient advice and liaison service within the NHS.
Mark has an ongoing interest in the improvement of both clinical and manufacturing techniques, and prides himself in his ability to empathize with patients and other healthcare professionals.
Mark has a plethora of experience in most aspects of orthotic management in:
- MDT led Diabetic Foot Clinics
- Complex Foot and Ankle Clinics
- Paediatric AFO and Foot Clinics
- ORLAU Clinical Specialty
- Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Clinics
He has also presented at a number of courses including:
- 2013 Contracture management course, ORLAU (speaker), an Orthotist’s perspective.
- 2014 Boston Bracing course, RJAH Oswestry, (Speaker and Technical Instructor)
A proactive approach through external courses and keeping up to date with current practices has enabled Mark to develop his scope as a practitioner and maintain his CPD portfolio.
Mark has attended many courses including:
- 2008 Boston Brace idiopathic scoliosis bracing Norfolk
- 2008 Paediatric Gait Analysis and orthotic management by Elaine Owen, Salford University
- 2009 Muscles, Length, Strength and Stiffness, Salford University
- 2009 DMO Dynamic Lycra stages 1 & 2
- 2010 Diabetic Foot course Strathclyde University
- 2010 Writing of a course manual for Orthotic assistants
- 2011 Contemporary Practices in Injection Therapy
- 2011 Anaphylaxis and how to treat
- 2011 Spincor Bracing for Idiopathic Scoliosis
- 2011 Lycra stage 3 bracing using lycra in Neuromuscular Scoliosis
Kate Strachan - Independent Phsyiotherapist
Kate Strachan graduated as a Physiotherapist from Keele University in 2011. Since this time Kate has worked across a variety of clinical specialties. She is registered with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and her work has mostly spanned the Orthotic Research and Locomotor Assessment Unit (ORLAU) and Physiotherapy Musculoskeletal Outpatients, with additional experience within Trauma and Orthopaedics (T&O) and General Medicine departments.
ORLAU has enabled Kate to further her experience in rehabilitative engineering, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), 2D and 3D gait analysis and specialised upper limb assessments on a wide variety of adult and paediatric patients, often with atypical neurological or orthopaedic pathologies. She has worked closely and effectively within a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of fellow Physiotherapists, Orthotists, Rehabilitation Engineers, Orthopaedic Consultants and Bioengineers throughout her career.
Kate is a senior member of the Physiotherapy Outpatient Department where she has gained invaluable experience of assessing a wide range of musculoskeletal complaints and devising individualised treatment plans for diverse presentations and complex conditions. She is the lead Physiotherapist in a lower limb dominant aquatherapy group on a twice weekly basis, working alongside a Junior Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Assistant. Prior to a change in service need she led the upper limb aquatherapy sessions.
In 2016 Kate set up a private clinic, Cheshire Movement Clinic, alongside her Orthotic colleague of 5 years where they assess and treat a wide range of adult and paediatric patients. T ogether they offer a wide range of Orthotic and Physiotherapy treatments tailored to specific needs via a holistic approach.
Kate is a quiet, confident and approachable professional who is pragmatic in her approach and gives full commitment to any given task. Her focus, dedication and committed attitude leads to an accurate treatment plan with patient led goals in mind. In addition to completing statutory and mandatory training set out by the NHS Trust Kate has attended and presented numerous in-service training sessions over a wide range of subjects as well as attending externally organised events and professional training, as listed below:
- Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA) course
- Jo Gibson Shoulder course
- ATACP Jacqueline Pattman Aquatherapy course
- Mike Stewart Know Pain course
- Odstock Functional Electrical Stimulation course – upper limb and lower limb
- Good Clinical Practice (GCP) research course
- Clinical Movement Analysis Society (CMAS) conferences
- Hemi Help conferences
- The Movement Centre (TMC) conferences.
Dr Emma Simpson
Dr Emma Simpson qualified as a Clinical Psychologist from Lancaster University in 2008 and since then has mainly worked with children, young people, parents and families. The individuals and families Emma has worked with, and currently work with, have presented with a range of mental health difficulties including Anxiety (i.e. social anxiety, panic disorder, claustrophobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder), Depression, Self-harm, and interpersonal difficulties. Emma’s early experience post qualifying has been with young children and parents working with difficulties such as sleep and eating problems, and behavioural difficulties. In addition to this Emma has experience working with young people with Neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and Asperger’s (ASD).
Emma also worked with Military Veterans for approximately 2 years; the client group were predominantly male and presented with a range of difficulties including trauma (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, Depression and general difficulties with adjusting to life outside of the forces. Working across a broad range of clients, and severity of difficulties, has enabled Emma to develop strong engagement and therapy skills, and particularly with individuals who are more guarded and difficult to engage (i.e. military veterans who ‘don’t talk about their problems’, young people in the criminal justice system).
Prior to completing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, Emma studied at Birmingham University. She completed her degree in Psychology (BSc Psychology) and then went on to complete an MSc in Forensic Psychology Practice. Whilst completing her MSc, Emma worked in a range of Medium Secure Forensic hospitals including male and female adult facilities, and one for children and adolescents.
A few years after completing her Doctorate Emma went back to University for another year (Liverpool University) to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in CBT.
Emma uses a range of assessment tools and skills, predominantly using a biopsychosocial model combined with specific symptom measures (e.g. YBOCS, BDI, IES) and observations. Therapeutic models Emma is most competent in using are behavioural, CBT and Systemic approaches. Emma is also interested in and has knowledge of other therapeutic approaches such as Psychodynamic, DBT, Narrative approaches and CAT. Whilst Emma is not currently trained in CAT she has some basic training in this and is hopeful to build on this in the future.
Emma is trained in TRIPLE P (both for primary aged children and teenagers) and TRIPLE P Lifestyle program, developed for parents with overweight children. Emma draws upon attachment and domain theory and finds these highly useful in helping parents separate their child’s mental health problem from normal aspects of daily life. Emma values taking a flexible approach in utilizing psychological models for intervention and believe the needs of the client should inform intervention.
Emma provides assessments within the mental health arena as well as therapeutic input where required. She is particularly interested in parenting and helping to support parents who may be struggling to know how best to help their child with mental health difficulties. Emma is also experienced in providing teaching and consultation in a variety of topics, relevant to mental health and neurodevelopmental difficulties, to other professionals.
Emma has provided teaching to psychiatrists on CBT for PTSD in children and adolescents, and provided teaching on parental mental health issues. She has presented on engaging military veterans within the forum of a professional update. Emma has co-delivered teaching on ASD to a Clinical Psychology Doctorate course. She has developed and contributed to a years teaching program for a Youth Offender Service, incorporating a range of relevant subjects including neurodevelopmental difficulties, trauma, brain injury, and the importance of therapeutic boundaries in working with young people.
BSc (Psychology), MSc (Forensic Psychology Practice), DClin Psych (Clinical Psychology Doctorate), PostGrad Dip (CBT)
Member of Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Member of British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)