Suzanna Charles, Team Co-Ordinator, Brain Injury Service
Suzanna has worked for the NHS for 17 years, the last 7 of those within the Community Neuro-rehabilitation Service in Swansea Bay Health Board. Prior to starting work in the NHS, Suzanna studied BA Hons in Literature, Media and Film at Swansea Metropolitan University and also went on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Management.
As the Team Coordinator for the Brain Injury Service Suzanna is responsible for the smooth day to day operational and strategic functioning of the service. Her favourite part of the job is working with the amazing team, as well as meeting the bravest and most wonderful brain injuries survivors – they have taught her so much.
Suzanna has been a member of the South West Wales Brain Injury Group for the past 5 years, and is very thankful to be given the opportunity to act as Chair to this committee.
Dr David Abankwa, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine
Dr Abankwa has been a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Hospital since 2004. Prior to this he trained in Rehabilitation Medicine in Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton and Salisbury.
His current job involves management of patients with neurological disability including acquired brain injuries. His areas of interest include management of spasticity and complex neuro-disability.
He is also interested in medical and other health professional education and has an MSc in Medical Education from Cardiff University. He has been involved in the organisation of the South West Wales Brain Injury Conference since its inception.
Richard qualified from the Cardiff School of Physiotherapy in 1989; he has worked in all areas of Neuro-rehabilitation over the last 20 years. He is currently the physiotherapist in the Traumatic Brain Injury Service (TBIS), where he uses the Exercise Efficacy Scale to identify the support service-users require to perform Home Exercise Programs.
He has developed the use of cardio-vascular training and participation in physical activity to enhance well-being, using facilities accessible within the local community. A team of service-users successfully participated in the Sports Relief Swimathon event, and each member of the team has gone on to integrate swimming as an integral part of their physical activity programme.
Health Professional Liaison
Dr Zoe Fisher, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Zoe Fisher is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and lead for Community Neuro-rehabilitation Services in Swansea Bay Health Board (Clinical Role) and an Associate Professor at Health and Wellbeing Academy at Swansea University (Academic Role). Her research at the Health and Wellbeing Academy focuses on developing theoretical frameworks and interventions that bridge the gap between research and clinical practice in order to facilitate more effective and sustainable healthcare services for people with chronic conditions. Accordingly, Zoe and her clinical colleagues have re-designed their neuro-rehabilitation service based on these frameworks.
Her work has been published and featured on the national media as an example of innovation. Zoe and her colleagues have won many awards for their contribution to informing the transformation of healthcare models and clinical services as well as their theoretical contributions to wellbeing science.
Zoe has previously worked with the British Psychological Society, contributing to the development of the competency framework for the UK Clinical Neuropsychology Profession. Prior to training as a clinician at University of Wales Cardiff, Zoe completed her Ph.D in neuropsychology at the University of Wales, Swansea. Zoe is a founding member of the South West Wales Brain Injury Group.
Dr Fisher-Hicks is a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, who works at the Regional Brain Injury Service, Swansea Bay NHS Trust, and as an independent practitioner, preparing medico-legal reports at the Neuropsychology Clinic based at Swansea University. Dr Fisher-Hicks has over 15 years experience working with individuals with acquired brain injury and their families. Part of her current role involves supporting people to return to work following stroke. She previously worked within the Stroke Service at Cardiff and Vale UHB and at the inpatient neurorehabilitation service, Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff. Prior to her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, she completed a PhD in Psychology at Swansea University looking at Sleep, including sleep difficulties with individuals with traumatic brain injury.
Dr Fisher-Hicks is on the BPS Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists and Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors. She is an Honorary lecturer at Cardiff University and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Swansea University, School of Medicine. She has a range of peer-reviewed publications focusing on personality change judgments following brain injury, a self-help book entitled ‘Rebuilding Your Life After Stroke’ and recently published chapters on the Frontal lobe Paradox and Sleep following Traumatic Brain Injury.
Mei Li, Director & Head of Catastrophic Injury
Mei is a member of the Injury Services Team working within JCP Solicitors’ established Injury Services Team and Head of the Catastrophic Injury Team. Mei has over 20 years experience of a significant number of brain injury claims for both children and adults ranging from mild difficulties to those of maximum severity.
Mei considers it particularly important to develop a good relationship with her clients to support them throughout the litigation process in what is already a difficult time; ensuring rehabilitation starts at an early stage to enable them to maximise recovery.
Mei has been a member of the Law Society Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel since 2004, she is a Member and Treasurer of Swansea Medico Legal Society, a Member of Swansea Law Society, and a Member and Senior Litigator of APIL (The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). She is also branch secretary for the South Powys branch of the Headway Neuro café.
Membership Co-Ordinator, Events Co-Ordinator and Data Manager
Amy Seppman, Marketing Director, JCP Solicitors
Amy is the Marketing Director at JCP Solicitors. Amy’s main focus is the development of the strategy at JCP Solicitors, and works particularly closely with the Catastrophic Injury and Deputy Legal team. Assisted by two team members, Amy plans and co-ordinates all marketing communications and events for JCP Solicitors.
Amy completed the Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate, holds a Professional Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma and has over 10 years’ experience in a marketing role. In April 2013 Amy was appointed as one of the youngest non-lawyer law firm partners in Wales at the time.
A passionate marketer, Amy has been listed in the Western Mail’s ‘35 under 35 to watch’ and was recently highly commended in the Rising Star Category of the South Wales Evening Post’s Women in Business Awards. Amy has also been a board member of Swansea Bay Business Club since April 2013.
Amy and her team have organised the South & West Wales Brain Injury Conference since its inception in 2010 and when asked about the event she said:-
“This is one of the most enjoyable committees and favourite events that I help to run. Over the years and as one of the founding members of the SWWBIG, I have made many lifelong friends and met some of the most amazing, inspirational people.”
Gareth Dimblebee, Finance Assistant, Mental Health & Learning Disability, Social Services
Gareth gained a BSc (Hons) in Mechanical Design and Manufacture and was working in Engineering as a Trainee Manager for a Structural Steelwork company. His life changed suddenly in Feb 2007, when at 25, he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Thanks to all the excellent support he had from family, friends and the TBI team at Morriston hospital, as well as other professionals and organisations such as Headway Swansea and Swansea Vale Resource Centre, he made a good recovery. He is determined to persevere, never give up and continue trying the best he can. Gareth was a very sporty, active outdoor person and was very fit, which also helped with his recovery. He is now back driving and working again.
In the last few years, Gareth has been mentoring people who have suffered a TBI or a stroke, passing on his knowledge and experience of what helped him and how he now works to the best of his abilities. This helps give them the best chance of returning to normal life, with the goal of returning to work one day.
Paula Lewis, Group Senior Nurse, Fieldbay Ltd
Paula qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse (RMN) in 1986 and has worked in NHS acute clinical settings and the independent sector since 1998 as a Senior Nurse, Director and responsible Individual. Paula commenced her current employment in Fieldbay in 1998 and works as the Group Senior Nurse and Responsible Individual for all the Nursing and Residential services. Paula oversees the company operational plans, supporting the Fieldbay clinical MDTs Nurses RMN/RGN/LD, Physiotherapists, O/T’s, Psychologists, Psychiatrist and PBM teams and Managers, with supporting individuals who have complex mental health needs and sometimes accompanying physical needs, learning disabilities, eating disorders, dementia and young onset dementia, acquired and traumatic brain injury and neurological disabilities.
Paula is committed to life- long learning, training and development for herself and her colleagues. Paula has a BSC (Nursing), PGCE (Teaching), MA (Professional Development) and IOSH and has links with University of Wales Trinity St David’s and Swansea University. Fieldbay are accredited to train both Learner Nurses, Physio’s SALT and O/T students and have their own qualified training team. All team members are encouraged to undertake formal qualifications and inhouse development and reflection.
Paula and Fieldbay have been delighted to have been involved with the SWBIG committee for the past 4 years and to be co-sponsors of the annual conference. Paula also sits on the committee as the fund raising manager.
Jeremy Tree, Professor of Neuropsychology
Jeremy is a Professor of Neuropsychology with a 20-year history of research experience in working with clinical populations with a variety of types of acquired brain injury (including stroke, head injury and dementia). As someone who is fascinated in a range of academic areas, he is interested in multidisciplinary approaches to research in this context, and currently collaborates with academics spanning the humanities, computer science and engineering.
Jeremy has an honorary contract as a research neuropsychologist in Swansea Bay Health board, he is a chartered and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and is registered by the Health & Care Professionals Council as a practitioner psychologist. During his time at Swansea University, he has been the director of the Abnormal and Clinical MSc one of its largest taught Masters degrees and the Director of Research in the College of Human and Health Sciences.
Outside of Swansea, he has stood on the Executive committees of the Experimental Psychology Society, and the British Neuropsychological Society and produced teaching materials for the Open University.
Ffion Jones, Network Support Coordinator for Wales, Headway
Ffion has worked for the third sector for 16 years and with Headway UK since 2016 as the Network Support Coordinator for Wales. Prior to this, Ffion was an Education Social Worker for a Local Authority.
Her role within Headway includes working closely with the network of Headway groups and branches to support their work with survivors of brain injury, their families and Carers. She supports them to improve the services they provide and raise the profile of the amazing work they do. She also works with a wide range of health and social care stakeholders and partners to improve pathways and services for people with brain injury, their families, and carers. She has recently developed her skills by offering training to North Wales Police to enable them to work more effectively with brain injury survivors in the criminal justice system. One of the most satisfying parts of her role is having the opportunity to meet such courageous survivors and their families and carers.
Ffion is delighted to have been invited to join the SWWBIG committee and is looking forward to getting involved with the planning of the forthcoming conference!