Meet the Team

Amanda Albano - Hospital Manager

After qualifying as an RMN, Amanda worked for two years in the NHS in an acute setting. She then joined St Andrew’s Healthcare in Essex in 2000 as a Deputy Ward Manager within the low secure setting.

She progressed to ward manager, developed a successful Personality Disorder service and went on to manage both the male and female complex needs service. Amanda then achieved promotion to the Clinical Services Manager position and in 2015, the Operations Manager role. Amanda joined Cygnet Hospital Stevenage as Clinical Manager in February 2017 before being appointed Hospital Manager of Cygnet Hospital Colchester in 2019.

Dr Emanoel Ruja - Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Ruja graduated in 1981 in Bucharest (Romania) and practiced medicine in the UK since 1990.

He was involved in national and international research with publications in Lancet, British Journal of Cancer, Cambridge University Press and International Research in Cancer Epidemiology.

He worked as a GP (1998-2001) and held Deputy Chair position for BMA (2013-2017)

Since 2001 his work was concentrated on Psychiatry covering areas of Forensic, Rehabilitation, and since 2001 as Consultant Psychiatrist in Intellectual Disability focusing on ASD (as special interest). He has held positions from Head of service, Lead Consultant and Medical Director.

He joined Cygnet in 2014 and currently he is still involved in Intellectual Disability service at Cygnet Hospital Colchester.

Dr Allison Sebley - Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Allison is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who completed her first psychology degree and clinical training in New Zealand, and has worked as a clinical psychologist in the UK since 1992. Allison started out in the NHS working predominantly in adult mental health and primary care services, but also in Child and Family Services and Community Mental Health Teams before specialising in Forensic Services both in the NHS and in the private sector in 1997.

Allison was appointed to a Consultant Clinical Psychologist position in low secure forensic Learning disabilities services in 1999, and has worked as a consultant clinical psychologist across a number of secure inpatient services for patients with a range of mental health problems, learning disabilities, personality disorders, and offending behaviour. Allison has been working for Cygnet Health Care since 2010 and has a particular interest in forensic mental health and personality disorders.

Dr Rachel Loyd – Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist in 1996, Rachel has worked in both the NHS and independent hospitals. Before joining Cygnet in 2015, she worked for both Partnerships in Care and Danshell in London and Essex. Her experience covers Low Secure Forensic Services, Personality Disorder Services and Recovery and Rehabilitation Services. Rachel has a keen interest in Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Clinical Risk Assessment.

Dr Abida Wiqar – Speciality Doctor

Dr Abida Wiqar joined Cygnet Hospital Colchester in Feb 2019 as a Speciality Doctor. Prior to that she has worked with in various sub specialities of Psychiatry including General adult psychiatry and Adult Home treatment team. She also has experience of working in a female acute ward with patients diagnosed with a variety of mental health diagnosis including Personality disorders. Dr Wiqar is currently based mainly on theFlower Adams units.

Chris Howley – Office Manager

Chris is new to mental health, starting with Cygnet Hospital Colchester as Office Manager in May 2019. He previously spent 12 years working alongside the military in an administrative manager position.

He enjoys working in this new environment and being part of a team delivering the best care possible for patients.

Vijeta Sharma - Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Vijeta is a HCPC registered Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist who joined the team in September 2014. Prior to joining Cygnet, Vijeta has worked in a number of roles supporting children, young people and adults with a range of communication disorders, before specialising in working with people with Autism and Learning Disabilities.

Vijeta is responsible for the provision of high quality assessments and interventions relating to Speech, Language and Communication needs of all service users at Cygnet Hospital, Colchester.

Vijeta has an in-depth knowledge of the Transforming Care Agenda, inclusive communication and supports the team to apply the principles of the accessible information standard and 5 good communication standards into all areas of care and treatment.

As well as completing assessments and interventions for communication, Vijeta is dysphagia trained and provides assessment and management of swallowing difficulties in a range of settings.

Kasha Matyskiewicz - Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Kasha earned her first degree in Environmental Protection Engineering from State Higher Vocational School, Department of Polytechnics in Poland and worked as an Engineer for the International Automotive Company therein.

She then earned her second degree in BSc (Hons) Psychology degree from Newcastle University. She has gained her experience working mainly in Autism and Intellectual Disability Specialist Services in North East and Scotland.

She joined Cygnet Hospital at Colchester in October 2018 as a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant. She has a number of specialist interest areas including Trauma, Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Conditions with Complex Needs, Mental Health as well as Transactional Analysis. She is currently working towards her qualifications as an Integrative Psychotherapist.

Lidia Karkocha – Occupational Therapist

Lidia graduated with a MSc (Hons) degree in Occupational Therapy from University of Essex in 2012. This same year she has joined the team at Cygnet Hospital Colchester.

She has worked closely with patients with diagnoses of Mental Illness, Learning Disability, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Personality Disorder across several units. Lidia is HCPC registered and a member of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT).

Lidia has postgraduate qualification in Sensory Integration and experience in developing individualised Sensory Programmes and Sensory Diets. Lidia has extensive experience of working with patients with complex needs and severe challenging behaviours.

Jacqui James - Physical Health Nurse

Jacqui has worked in the NHS for 39 years. She has worked as an Ophthalmic Nurse, having trained at Moorfields Eye Hospital and also worked in A & E during the 1980’s. She worked as a Night Nurse in the private sector when her son Simon was a baby, before then working as a District Nurse for many years completing her degree in District Nursing at the age of 40. Jacqui also has experience as a Community Matron, Continence Nurse Specialist and as a Practice Nurse in a GP surgery.

Jacqui joined Cygnet Hospital Colchester in January 2018 as the hospital's Physical Health Nurse. Her hobbies include singing, snorkelling, traveling ,cooking and most of all laughing.

Sharon Godtschalk – Mental Health Act Administrator

Sharon has worked as an administrator in many professions including Financial Advice, Mortgage Advice and Estate Agency. She moved into Healthcare when she joined Care Aspirations at St Paul’s Hospital Colchester as a receptionist in November 2008. She was then offered the position of Mental Health Act Administrator in December 2009 and has remained in this position until today through The Cambian Group as Fairview Hospital and now Cygnet Health Care as Cygnet Hospital Colchester.

Sharon attained the Certificate of Mental Health Law and Practice in November 2015 and is the Mental Health Act Lead for the East of England and London Units for Cygnet Health Care and enjoys her interaction with other mental health act administrators.

Sally Taylor – Mental Health Act Administrator

After being a stay at home mum and bringing up her family, Sally started work as a typist at what was then St Pauls Hospital, Care Aspirations in January 2009. During her time at Cygnet Hospital Colchester, Sally has worked in various roles including taking the post of Medical Secretary for a few years. Sally became part of the Mental Health Act Administration team in 2013 where she remains to date covering female PD, LD and ASD Units at the hospital.

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