Meet the Team at The Bridge

Iain Veitch

Care Centre Director
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Kay Cartwright

Clinical Lead
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Pauline Matthews

Lead Occupational Therapist
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Kirsty Allison

Occupational Therapist
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Mira Bou-Akar

Lead Speech and Language Therapist
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Nicholas Dougherty

Lead Physiotherapist
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Vanessa Madden

Physiotherapist
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Iain Veitch

Care Centre Director

Qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in 1990, Iain specialised in critical care nursing and worked in various hospital settings including a specialisation in spinal injuries. Iain went on to gain valuable experience working within critical care services and the NHS as a Service Manager for various acute and community services. Iain has over seven years’ experience as a Clinical Director and was instrumental in setting up an innovative 30 bed service, providing community ventilation and neurological rehabilitation.

He remains passionate about delivering high quality care to individuals requiring long term care due to neurological deficits, spinal cord injuries and those requiting highly specialise long term care in the community. He is a transformational leader who believes in developing his staff to deliver exceptional care on a daily basis. Iain is driven to ensure The Bridge delivers a fantastic service to the local population within the Northeast.

Kay Cartwirght

Clinical Lead

Kay has been nursing for over 40 years. Prior to joining The Bridge team as the Clinical Lead in 2019, she was a Critical Care Sister at James Cook University Hospital. Her passion over the past 20 years has been caring for people with complex needs and respiratory support. She has a vast knowledge and experience in caring for people with neurological impairment, tracheostomies, and ventilation.

She has always been passionate and caring and ensures a high standard of personal centered care is delivered through leadership, education, teamwork, and collaborative working. Kay says that being part of an amazing team at The Bridge is very rewarding.

Pauline Matthews

Lead Occupational Therapist

Pauline has acquired a wealth of experience over the last 13 years, specialising in cognitive rehabilitation, visual processing rehabilitation, longer term stroke rehab and rehabilitation of individuals with complex needs, including Parkinson’s.

Pauline joined the team at The Bridge in late August 2108 and cares passionately about enabling individuals with neurological deficits to maximise their functional independence. She is also on the specialist neurological register with the royal college of occupational therapists, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to The Bridge.

To promote quality of life, Pauline works with the residents on their Activities of Daily Life (ADL’s) and works closely with the residents’ family members to help educate and support them in adapting to changes in the day-to-day functional abilities and wellbeing of their loved ones.

Kirsty Allison

Occupational Therapist

Since qualifying with a Master’s degree in occupational therapy over ten years ago Kirsty has specialised in complex neuro rehabilitation, assessment, and complex discharge planning at a range of different hospitals across the area – specialising in neurology and stroke. This has given her an in-depth knowledge rehabilitating physical, cognitive, sensory, and visual and perceptual problems for patients in a range of levels of consciousness. This is an area which was always close to her heart as several of her close family members have neurological conditions which inspired her to work in this area. Kirsty’s personal experiences of neurological conditions has helped her gain a rich empathy for patients and carers, and the importance of family involvement in the care and rehabilitation process. Prior to this she worked in mental health services and with individuals with learning difficulties and complex physical needs which has given her a wealth of transferrable skills. Kirsty has a special interest in pressure garment therapy, which can be used to improve limb movement and postural support/specialist seating and she has completed a wealth of additional training and self-directed study in this area. She recently undertook training in assessment of those in lowered states of consciousness which inspired her to set up the sensory room at The Bridge.

Kirsty is always seeking new and innovative approaches to therapy, and she enjoys seeing the positive outcomes this can achieve with residents. She also loves tailoring and planning therapy around each individual aiming to maximise independence and function and incorporating each resident’s interests and valued activities of daily living into therapy.

Mira Bou-Akar

Lead Speech and Language Therapist

A multilingual speech and language
therapist with a Master’s degree and 10 years of experience in hospitals,
rehabilitation centres, institutions for special needs, inclusive schools and
clinics. 


Mira is a certified member of the Royal College of Speech and Language
Therapists and a member of the European Society for Swallowing Disorders. She had the pleasure to lead speech and language therapy departments, contribute to developing effective SLT services, and work within multidisciplinary teams to diagnose and treat patients of different age groups ranging from neonate babies to elderlies. Her diverse experience in providing therapy for patients with swallowing and feeding disorders, communication and oral language disorders, dysarthria, aphasia and AAC implementation, degenerative disease, neurogenic diseases, learning difficulties, hearing impairment and fluency disorders, has sharpened her knowledge in pathologies of varied aetiologies and severities.


Being multilingual made her very comfortable in engaging with multicultural
patients and families. Her eagerness to grow in the speech and language therapy field has pushed her to pursue post-graduate certified trainings in “Lidcombe and Lidcombe Expert Programs”, in “Swallowing – Oral and Feeding intervention with young and handicapped child” and in “Dementia and Diversity in Primary Care: A Primer – Guidelines, Ethnic Differences, and Assessment”. 


Joining The Bridge as the Lead Speech and Language Therapist gave her the opportunity to implement her clinical and training experience within a professional, multi-cultural work environment.

Nicholas Dougherty

Lead Physiotherapist

Nick has been working in healthcare for the past 26 years. He qualified in 2005 having completed his BSc Hons degree in Physiotherapy from York St John University. He has worked in the NHS and independent sector gaining a wealth of knowledge in the fields of complex neurological rehabilitation for both traumatic and degenerative conditions and in the field of long-term ventilation.

One of his biggest achievements to date was a national lead role within the community devising an airway management service. This supported complex ventilated spinal and neurological condition patients to return home after a period in hospital, ensuring a safe transition was safely maintained.

Over the past few years, he has focused on the rehabilitation of complex spinal and acquired brain injury clients within their own homes and supporting their teams, allowing clients to reach their potential and achieve dreams by facilitating overseas visits and cruises safely.

Nick is described as a passionate, well driven, and enthusiastic physiotherapist who strives to gain results from a collaborative client centred approach.

Nick loves to spend time with his family travelling, experiencing new locations around the world, and dedicating lots of time towards his 2 Hungarian vizsla dogs, Oscar and Elsa, who have become part of the therapy team.

Vanessa Madden

Physiotherapist

Vanessa qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2007 from York St John University. She has over 12 years’ experience working in Neurological Rehabilitation. This includes an extensive background of working within the NHS and 7 years specialised in Stroke Rehab which provided her with an excellent base for further progression. She then moved into the Private sector seeking new challenges and opportunities to develop. Vanessa has worked for both Neural Pathways and Tees Neuro Physiotherapy in the Northeast over the last 6 years gaining a lot of experience with clients who have complex physical neurological needs and behavioural needs. She then joined The Bridge in 2021 as part of the therapy team.

Vanessa has worked in a number of care settings across the Northeast and has been instrumental in service development and promoting the rehab ‘ethos’ within these settings, empowering all staff to be part of the clients’ rehabilitation journey. She says she loves her job and prides herself on the rapport she builds with both the residents and colleagues. She is friendly, enthusiastic, and passionate about rehab and says she loves working as part of a team at The Bridge and supporting staff to facilitate rehab.