Meet the Team at The Avalon Centre

Professor/Yr Athro Nick Alderman BA (Hons) MAppSci PhD CPsychol CSci FBPsS

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Clinical Director, Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation (NbR) Services

Andy Birkett

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Hospital Director

Dr Danielle Desperles-Hughes, BSc (Hons) DClinPsy

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Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead

Dr Tim Howard, B.Med.Sci, BM BS, MRCPsych.

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Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Professor/Yr Athro Nick Alderman BA (Hons) MAppSci PhD CPsychol CSci FBPsS

Clinical Director, Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation (NbR) Services

Professor Alderman is acknowledged internationally as one of the foremost experts in NbR, having over three decades experience in this field.

Nick has combined successful careers in clinical and academic psychology and has a proven track record in treatment innovation, service development, leadership, research, publications and teaching. He is Honorary Professor at Swansea University and Visiting Professor at the University of the West of England. He previously held senior posts at St Andrew’s Healthcare Kemsley Unit and a number of other well established brain injury service providers.

In 2002, Nick was awarded a Fellowship of the British Psychological Society in recognition of his contribution to NbR. In 2014 he was a finalist in the LaingBuisson Independent Healthcare Awards ‘Outstanding Contribution’ category; joint winner of The Association for Psychological Therapies ‘Awards for Excellence in Risk Assessment and Management’ and recipient of the prestigious United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum ‘Stephen McAleese Award for Inspiration by an individual in the field of acquired brain injury’ in recognition of his work in successfully reducing restrictive interventions in Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation. In 2016, Nick was joint recipient of the Association for Psychological Therapies ‘Annual Award for Excellence in Working with Challenging Behaviour’ and most recently has this year achieved the ‘Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice’ from the British Psychological Society.

Outside of work Nick is a keen dog owner and prides himself on being an amateur musician of ‘questionable talent’.

As Clinical Director, NbR Services Elysium Neurological, Professor Alderman is really pleased to bring this much needed service to the South West.

Andy Birkett

Hospital Director

Having worked as a Staff Nurse, Deputy Manager, Ward Manager and Operational Lead for Brain Injury Services, Andy has more than 25 years of specialist experience. He previously held operational responsibility over four neurorehabilitation services for men and women as well as within community based homes.

Andy is passionate about and firmly believes in working within a transdisciplinary model of care and is delighted to be working with the particular Transdisciplinary Team (TDT). The teams shared understanding of the TDT model will drive and shape the delivery of safe and excellent Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation, ensuring that positive outcomes are achievable for every individual at The Avalon Centre.

Andy has a particular interest and experience in clinical health and safety, especially in relation to the clinical environment, serious incidents, safeguarding and reporting systems. In 2008 he led a major provider to achieve the prestigious, internationally recognised, British Safety Council 5 Star Health and Safety Management Systems Award, a status they maintained annually.

With an enthusiasm around physical health and the links to wellbeing, his passion is shown in his own commitment to his personal interests. He runs, cycles and swims regularly and over the last year has completed triathlons, full and half marathons and distance open water swimming endurance events. He forms part of a team that participates in National Triathlon Relays and in 2016 completed his first Ironman full distance triathlon in Copenhagen, swiftly followed by a second in Austria just two years later. He even finds time to play pool at county level and referee pool tournaments at national, European and world levels.

Andy Birkett has the knowledge, experience, energy and confidence to deliver the role of Hospital Director at The Avalon Centre, Swindon.

Dr Danielle Desperles-Hughes, BSc (Hons) DClinPsy

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead

Danielle joins Elysium with more than 10 years’ experience of working in secure and rehabilitation neurobehavioural settings for the NHS and the independent sector.  Having held previous Consultant and Principal roles in brain injury services, she is widely practised in the assessment, treatment and delivery of neuropsychological therapeutic interventions for individuals with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) who present with complex and challenging behaviour.

Her experience includes clinical leadership, oversight and responsibility for the development and delivery of Neurobehavioral Rehabilitation (NbR) programmes. She will use evidence based practice to lead the team in delivering the NbR model in a confident and consistent approach.

Danielle has a special interest in risk assessment and management and will ensure that least restrictive practice is adopted at all times.  Her drive for research informs and builds on the existing evidence base enabling her to meet her aim of gold standard service development.

She is also keen to continue with the further development of a collaborative research project with the University of Swansea on the SASNOS self-rating measure.  This measure evaluates a person’s degree of insight into the Neurobehavioural Disability (NBD) that has resulted from the ABI, together with the impact that NBD may have on their life.

Danielle enjoys working with individuals, their families and the wider team to agree the best possible goals and clinical outcomes for every person.

She is an accomplished clinician and researcher who brings energy and commitment to The Avalon Centre.

Dr Tim Howard, B.Med.Sci, BM BS, MRCPsych.

Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Tim is a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist who has extensive experience of working in secure and rehabilitation settings for the NHS and the independent sector.  As well as being widely practised in the assessment and treatment of individuals with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), he previously led the development of a neurobehavioural service. His management experience includes a period as a Clinical Director of brain injury and developmental psychiatry services.

He has a continuing medicolegal interest and, after completing the Bar vocational course, was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1996. Away from work Tim is a keen salmon fisherman and countryman who enjoys working his dogs and watching the local wildlife.

Tim, as the Responsible Clinician for The Avalon Centre is looking forward to contributing to the development of a first-class Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation service and supporting patients through the rehabilitation programme towards recovery.

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