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Meet the Team

Simba Kaseke - Hospital Manager

Simba is a registered nurse with over 12 years experience of working within the NHS. He has worked in a variety of mental health settings and is experienced in delivering services at operational and strategic levels. Simba has particular interest in personality disorder services and holds a Master’s degree in Psychodynamic and Psychosocial Nursing.

Just prior to joining Cygnet, Simba worked as a Modern Matron and then as an Inpatients Service Manager with West London Mental Health NHS Trust. He was the regional winner (London) for the national Mental Health Hero Award for his exceptional leadership and outstanding work to help, support and care for people experiencing mental health crises.

Chris Bridgeman - Clinical Service Manager

Chris's interest in Mental Health started whilst studying for his degree in Psychology in 2004. He started working as a HCA in a private care home, then moved to the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust where he was seconded to do his RMN training at Kings College London.

Prior to joining Cygnet Hospital Maidstone Chris spent five years working for Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust within a forensic setting on a medium secure male unit.

Dr Doreen Attard - Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Attard is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist with expertise in Adult Forensic Mental Health. She is the Responsible Clinician on Saltwood Ward, the Adult Male Low Secure (LSU) service at Cygnet Hospital in Maidstone. Dr Attard has significant experience in working within various different specialties and levels of security within forensic mental health, as well as within the criminal justice system and prisons. She has worked both within the NHS and the independent sector. Dr Attard has been involved in various service development projects within the general adult services, as well as male and female forensic services, and has significant training and experience in management.

Dr Attard has a special interest in medicolegal practice and a passion for mental health law, as well as other areas of law in general. She has significant experience in conducting expert witness reports for the Courts, as well as independent reports for defense and prosecution cases. She holds a Masters Degree with Commendation in Mental Health Law, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Law, both with the Northumbria University School of Law. Whilst continuing with her full time clinical practice as a forensic psychiatrist, she continues to study law via long distance learning, and is in the process of achieving a Bachelors Degree in Law within the next year.

Dr Anup Mathew - Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Mathew is the Responsible Clinician for Kingswood Ward, the Adult Male Rehabilitation and High Dependency Service. He is also a Consultant in the NHS and at a Specialist Clinic in London. He completed his core training in The Royal London and Barts training scheme, his higher training in The South London and Maudsley training scheme and received his CCT in Adult and Rehabilitation Psychiatry. During both his core and higher training, Dr Mathew was a finalist for a national award by Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Mathew has extensive knowledge of mental health legislation having completed an MA in Medical Ethics and Law. He was appointed by the Ministry of Justice as a Medical Member of the First-tier Tribunal in the Social Entitlement Chamber. He is a Medical Examiner and Health Examiner for the General Medical Council. Dr Mathew also has a special interest in Military Psychiatry having completed an MSc in War and Psychiatry and trained with the Royal Marines Reserve.

Dr Mathew was awarded Membership of the Academy of Medical Educators and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy following his involvement in medical education. He is a University lecturer and an OSCE examiner for final year medical students. Dr Mathew is involved in research and has published papers in international peer-reviewed journals.

As a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Addictions Faculty, Dr Mathew has qualifications and expertise in the management of alcohol and drug misuse, particularly with co-morbid mental health problems. His extensive knowledge extends to all aspects of addiction including individual brain mechanisms, behaviour and its overall effect on the family.

Dr Somasekhara Omkar - Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Somasekhara Omkar did his MBBS from University of Mysore, India in September 1997. He was awarded Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2004. He completed higher specialist training in Forensic Psychiatry in West Midlands with Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Forensic Psychiatry in December 2007.

Dr Omkar has been a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist for nearly eleven years with Priory Healthcare. He has expertise in female medium and low secure forensic environments, female locked rehabilitation and male and female PICU environments. He has been clinically managing patients with complex risks and needs. He is an accredited Lead Reviewer of Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health Services through the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI). Dr Omkar has been Clinical Lead during an environment of implementing and managing change that led to a significantly improved CQC rating.

Dr Omkar is the lead consultant of our male psychiatric intensive care unit (Bearsted Ward). Dr Omkar is passionate about engaging with the patient’s voice, collaborative risk assessments and ensuring outcomes are met. He is both delighted and excited at the prospect of working with Cygnet Health Care. He is looking forward to working with our team and delivering excellent, safe and effective clinical care in a timely manner promoting patient recovery.

Dr Daniela Herescu – Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Daniela is a Consultant Psychiatrist who joined Cygnet in September 2018 having had previous experience in various settings e.g. from low secure to CAMHS and community services. Her role is part time and covers the male rehabilitation ward (Kingswood) and Roseacre. She enjoys using her knowledge and skills to support the team and improve quality of care for patients.

Having been on the specialist register since 2012 and obtaining further qualifications in the UK, Dr Daniela has been actively involved in Quality Network mental health reviews and between 2014 and 2015 was part of the KSS Programme Board of the Compassion Care and Patient Safety. As part of the ongoing journey to improve clinical care and standards, she has also been the Responsible Officer and has worked closely with the GMC and has taken a lead in finalising SLA for 2 previous organisations.

Matt O'Connor – Bearsted Ward Manager

Matt qualified as a Registered Mental Health nurse in 2O16, following which he took a position as a preceptor nurse on Saltwood Ward, the Adult Male Low Secure (LSU) service at Cygnet Godden Green. Since joining Cygnet, he has progressed from staff nurse through to managing Cygnet Maidstone’s Bearsted Ward.

Charlene Nota - Kingswood Ward Manager

Charlene qualified as a Registered Mental Health nurse in 2O11 following which she took a position as a preceptor at Cygnet Churchill a male rehabilitation service. She has vast experience of working in this service- from working with service users that were at the pre-engagement phase through to the end of the care pathway.

Prior to joining the new team at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone Charlene was working for four years as a Senior Nurse honing her clinical leadership skills with the nursing team.

Irene Rednall - Roseacre Ward Manager

Irene qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 2017, graduating from the University of Greenwich. Since qualifying she has worked in a Medium Male Forensic setting and a Mother and Baby unit within the NHS. Irene started at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone in 2018 as a Staff Nurse on Roseacre ward. She moved to Bearsted PICU ward as a Clinical Team Leader. Irene has now returned to Roseacre Ward as Ward Manager.

Caroline Sibanda – Saltwood Ward Manager

Caroline is a qualified Mental Health Nurse. She completed her BSC in Mental Health Nursing at Kingston University. She joined Cygnet in 2014 and worked as a Staff Nurse and then in 2016 started working as an Addictions Nurse for a Drugs and Alcohol service. She joined Cygnet Maidstone in 2018 as a Clinical Team Leader, in April 2019 she started her first Ward Manager post which was maternity cover then in June 2019 was promoted to Saltwood Ward Manager. Caroline is passionate about working closely with service users to improve their wellbeing and supporting them in their journey to recovery.

Michelle Thomas – Head of Psychology

Michelle is a Chartered Forensic Psychologist with over 19 years of experience. She has worked with the Prison Service delivering therapy to a variety of clients including life sentence prisoners, juveniles, and individuals convicted of sexual offences. Other experience gained there includes teaching negotiation skills, presenting and contingency planning.

Prior to joining Cygnet Hospital Maidstone, Michelle worked for Cygnet Hospital Godden Green (Adult Services) and other independent services providing individual and group therapy and consultation. She has a special interest in risk, trauma and promoting trauma informed care.

Neil Barker - Head of Occupational Therapy

Neil completed his training as an Occupational Therapist in 2010 with a Master’s Degree, following a Bachelor’s in Psychology. He has since dedicated his work to mental health services, practising in a variety of settings moving from junior to senior roles.

Joining Cygnet Maidstone in April 2019, Neil now leads the Occupational Therapy department and oversees the Recovery College, bringing a focus on work and educational roles within the hospital and in the local community. Neil’s special interests include promoting knowledge of how occupations play an important role in our mental well-being, and increasing access to meaningful activity within the hospital environment, both on the wards and within the hospital grounds.

Maria Bousquet – Head of Social Work

Maria qualified as a Social Worker in 2003 and since then she have mainly worked in various mental health settings. In 2013, she passed her Masters level AMHP training which not only enhanced her knowledge around the Mental Health Act, it also gave her the ability to implement ‘Least Restrictive’ practice by weighing up the risks whilst remaining person centred. In 2017, she was employed by Kent County Council as an Advance Practitioner for the CMHT in Herne Bay. In feb 2018, Maria was employed as a Social worker by KMPT to work at Cygnet Godden Green on the Low Secure Unit.

Maria was successful in getting the position as Head of Social Work for Cygnet and leads a small team of Social Workers here at Maidstone. Maria is also the Safeguarding Lead and Carers Lead for Maidstone.

Alison McCulloch - Head of Admin and Operations

Alison joined Cygnet Hospital Maidstone as Head of Admin in May 2018. Prior to this Alison spent almost 14 years working for a local training company where she managed a training centre which supported unemployed adults develop skills and gain qualifications to help them get back to work. Alison graduated from Greenwich University with a degree in Business Administration and is really excited to manage the Admin Team at Maidstone and utilise her skills and experience.

Consilia Khumalo - Physical Health Nurse Lead

Consilia has been a nurse for 15 years, practised as a General Nurse for six years and as an RMN for nine years. She joined Cygnet Health Care in September 2019. Before joining the team sheI gained a vast experience in management of patients with acute mental health problems, learning disabilities, dementia and epilepsy.

She also worked at a staff clinic offering services inclusive of family planning (including implant and IUD insertions), HIV testing and counselling, HIV and TB integrated management, general physical ailments for both staff and patients as well as wound care. Prior to taking on her role of Physical Health Nurse Lead in September 2020 she had been working on Bearsted Ward.

Megan Johnston – Quality Assurance and Service Development Lead

Megan has worked in mental health for 7 years, starting in Cygnet Hospital Godden Green as a HCA working across both adult and CAMHS wards. Megan spent 4 years working as an Assistant Psychologist on Knole Ward, Godden Green and was involved in additional service development projects alongside her role.

Megan started at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone in August 2018 as the Quality Assurance and Service Development Lead, and was involved in the set up and opening of the hospital, helping to develop governance structures and ensure a quality service. Megan is passionate about quality improvement, innovation and ensuring positive experiences for our residents.

Joyce Garner – Head Housekeeper

Joyce has been a support worker in an Acquired Brain Injury Unit for 10 years prior to changing to a HK role, which led to becoming Head Housekeeper. She was Head Housekeeper at a Bupa Care Home for 7 years before moving to Cygnet Maidstone in August 2018 where she has gradually built up a team of housekeeping staff to keep the hospital cleanliness up to a high standard.

Lee Chivers – Maintenance Manager

Lee originally joined Cygnet in May 2016 as a maintenance assistant at Cygnet Hospital Godden Green. Prior to this he was a plumbing and heating engineer for 14 years. This trade and the skills learnt from it gave Lee the opportunity to achieve further expertise in terms of general maintenance of a building and health and safety regulations.

In June 2018 Lee was appointed Maintenance Manager of Cygnet Hospital Maidstone. Lee has a passion, not just for running a department and maintaining the high quality of standards within the hospital, but also for keeping up-to-date on the regulations required to keep the hospital and patients safe.

When not at work Lee enjoys playing and watching football, listening to music and going to music festivals, but most of all enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Damon Dalmedo - Head Chef

My career as a chef started washing dishes in a family run restaurant. I loved the buzz and excitement of kitchens, so I climbed the ranks, worked in London, then onto country house hotels. I was 23 when I owned my first restaurant called The No109, 3 years later I relocated to The Barn restaurant where we owned for 15 years, proudly saying we were in the Michelin guide for 12 years.

My next venture was a pub called The Ship Inn Conyer. In between owning establishments I’ve also taught at Mid Kent College and Cockham Wood Young Offenders. I am really excited to join the team here at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone and work closely with service users to develop menus.

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