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Meet the PICU team

The Who's who and what they do on PICU.

Unit consultants

  • Dr. Roddy O'Donnell - Clinical Director
  • Shruti Agrawal
  • Riaz Kayani
  • Nazima Pathan
  • Girish Neelegowda
  • Dr. David Inwald
  • Constantinos Kanaris
  • Bryce Lothian
  • Hiren Mehta

Our consultants are the leaders of the PICU team. Every patient who is admitted to hospital has a consultant who is responsible for their care.

Current unit registrars

  • Natalie Abbassi
  • Dong Chen
  • Joost Commandeur
  • Rachel Furness
  • Sunil Gopalakrishnan
  • Ahmed Ashraf Helali
  • Nelson Kamali
  • Hannah Mechie
  • Nada Mohammed
  • Ikechukwu Okongwu
  • Sarah Pearcey
  • John Rajan
  • Prithwish Roy
  • Ana Stratford
  • Rachana Vama

Registrars are doctors who are receiving advanced training in a specialist field of medicine like paediatrics or intensive care in order to eventually become a consultant.  They work acute on-call and out-of-hours on PICU which is one of the busiest and most challenging jobs in the entire hospital. They run the day to day operations of the unit alongside the consultants.

Management team

PICU / PaNDR matron : Lorraine Highe

Lead nurse: Mark Harvey

PHDU lead nurse: James Nicholas

Senior sisters: Sarah Hardwick; Adrienne Keelin; Clare King; Suzanne Middleton; Brian McConville; Tina Clapson; and Hannah Cherry

Large nursing staff team and health care assistants

They are the heart and soul of the whole PICU team as they work 24/7 at the child's bedside, taking care of their every need as well as the child's family’s needs too.

Clinical research nurses – Debbie White and Esther Daubney

Without the exceptional research that has been done in the past we wouldn’t be able to look after children as well as we do now. Current research is less likely to directly impact children during their PICU stay but it is a vital aspect of providing the best and most up to date care to children in the future. There are different types of research projects which sometimes only require the involvement of the research nurse and the child/family, or the entire PICU team. The research nurses work to engage the team where necessary and are responsible for ensuring children are screened and recruited appropriately.  They provide necessary education to staff and carry out data collection for the duration of the research projects, including conducting follow ups with children and their families following their hospital discharge. It is an exciting role allowing contact with families and offering opportunities to share projects with the wider research community both within the UK and further afield.

Family liaison nurse - Sarah O'Driscoll

The family liaison nurse is a senior sister with extensive experience of caring for sick children and their families. They provide advice and support to our children and families during their stay on PICU, acting as a resource providing verbal and written, up to date information. They promote the holistic approach of family centred care.

The family liaison nurse also works closely with all members of the multidisciplinary team, advocating and liaising, to ensure that the child and families psychosocial needs are met and will facilitate referrals for further support as required.

As part of the psychosocial team, the family liaison nurse works closely with our psychologist, counsellor, chaplaincy and play team, promoting a positive hospital experience.

Critical care operating department practitioner - Mark Bagstaff

Prepares the environment, equipment and acts as the link between the surgical team and hospital. He anticipates the requirements of the PICU team and responds effectively. Escorting patients to other departments ensuring all equipment is working and the other department is prepared for the patients specialized needs also.

Psychologists - Sarah Jane Archibald and counsellor practitioner - Clare Marney

The counsellor and clinical psychologist work within the PICU medical team.  The whole team acknowledges that admission into hospital for children brings different and additional challenges to families.  The counsellor and psychologist are able to offer time for parents, family members and children / young people to support and help make sense of what is happening and the possible consequences and challenges ahead.

Bereavement care link nurse - Tina Clapson

  • Acts as liaison between the ward and bereavement care services.
  • Educates and updates colleagues on related issues or changes in practice.
  • Makes sure there are bereavement paperwork and leaflets available.
  • Makes sure the "Flower Book" is completed for the ward clerk to order flowers for the day of the funeral.
  • Works very closely with the counsellors and psychologists on the unit to ensure all the parent / family needs are met.

Physiotherapist - Helen Starace

Helping children and young people admitted to PICU with serious illnesses or after big operations. There are lots of ways in which we can help you regain function and independence. They can help by:

  • addressing breathing difficulties and helping keep lungs clear
  • providing exercises to help get stiff or weak limbs moving and stronger
  • helping to get up and moving after operations or long periods in bed
  • providing rehabilitation if there is weakness or difficulty with balance or coordination
  • advising how to manage a variety of different symptoms such as pain, numbness or fatigue

Dietitian - Louise Humphreys

Nutrition support is an important component of the care provided to critically ill infants and children. The dietitian works with the intensive care doctors and nursing team to optimise feeding for the period of illness and plans for ongoing care during recovery. Many patients require enteral feeding with the use of specialized feeds or parenteral nutrition to meet their nutritional requirements. The dietitian aims to nutritionally assess and provide individual nutritional plans to all ventilated patients within 48 hours of admission, however commonly this is achieved within 24 hours, and will then review the patients as appropriate.  The dietitian also attends the daily morning unit ward round and contributes to decisions made around suitable routes of nutrition, nutrition support and the monitoring of feeding tolerance.

Child protection team - Kim Turner, Sian Forman and Rebecca Nicholson

Cambridge University Hospitals are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all employees to share this commitment. This emphasizes early intervention and family support to prevent harm to all children and young people, not just those at risk of or already suffering abuse and neglect.

Infection control

To keep up with the latest guidelines for protecting patients, staffs constantly reminded of effective ways of preventing infection including how to care for patients with difficult wounds and how to insert intravenous (IV) lines safely. When we know patients are at risk of serious infection, we can use our side rooms or smaller (cohort) bays to segregate them. These areas are barrier nursed. Please follow any instructions given by clinical staff. Good hand washing techniques. We routinely screen patients for MRSA.

Sick Children's Trust Acorn House

Parents can stay overnight but not at their child's bedside or in the parents room. We have accommodation nearby on the hospital site and there is family accommodation available. This accommodation is free, enabling them to be near their child. The child's nurse has more information about accommodation, parents do not have to feel that they must stay as it is important that they allow themselves time to sleep whilst their child is in PICU. It is important to remember any other children. We encourage brothers and sisters to visit and they should be told what is happening. We will help with this if needed. The unit is not suitable for active children for long visits but there is a playroom and a play specialist is available.


They care for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the whole hospital community. The chaplaincy team is based in the hospital and represents, or is in contact with, all the major faiths and church denominations. The team comprises ministers, priests and volunteers in a variety of capacities, both men and women, full and part time. You do not have to be 'religious' to talk to a chaplain. We are committed to care for each individual and to respect all people regardless of race, religion, creed, gender and culture. Whatever the circumstances or beliefs, chaplains are available for patients, relatives and staff. We provide the opportunity to talk in confidence about thoughts and feelings.

Visit our chaplaincy pages

Interpreting services

There are three types of services available at the trust for any language including via telephone, face-to-face and written translations. In order to make sure we can continue to meet the needs of our patients we need to consider the most cost effective way of providing this service. The key is to Identify our patient's needs firstly to determine if an interpreter is required, and then decide if telephone interpreting is an option.


Volunteers at Cambridge University Hospital are a great asset and provide an invaluable service.  They help us to make life easier for both our patients and their families, by supporting our staff in caring for patients, or by helping out behind the scenes.  Each year, hundreds of volunteers give up their free time on a regular basis to help patients throughout the hospital. Due to the intensive care on PICU we don't usually have ward volunteers but quite often have a PAT (Pets as Therapy) Dog visit some of the children.  Children seem to open up and let the barriers down when a PAT visiting dog is around. These dogs bring everyday life closer and with it all the happy associations of home comforts.