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Meet the Cleft Team

Cleft (Cleft.Net.East)

Meet the many staff who make up our team - and find out what they do.

Surgeons

Families are introduced to the cleft surgeon and other team members at one of our multidisciplinary clinics. Your child will be seen by them for assessment, advice or treatment at regular intervals as they grow up.

It is highly likely that your child will need surgery to repair their cleft. However, the surgeon will discuss this with you when you bring your child for their appointment.

  • Per Hall - Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon
  • Tariq Ahmad - Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon
  • Linda Treharne - Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon
  • Kanwalraj Moar - Consultant Cleft and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Divisional Director Women’s & Children’s
  • Kana Miyagi - Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon (on leave 2022)
  • Neil Brierley – Locum Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon and Clinical Lead Cleft.NET.East

Clinical Nurse Specialist

The clinical nurse specialist service: Information for parents and carers | CUH

A clinical Nurse Specialist is usually the first member of the regional Cleft team that you meet if you have a baby with a cleft lip/palate. We will meet you following diagnosis and referral, whether you have been referred antenatally, or following the birth of your baby. The CNS will contact you as soon as the referral is received and provide you with up to date information and expert knowledge and advice about what to expect on your child’s cleft journey from 0-20 years of age.

Our Clinical nurse specialists provide an on call service for new referrals 365 days per year, and can be contacted via the Cleft Office number 01223 596272. Your CNS will introduce themselves to you and will offer you her mobile phone number for you to contact between 9-5 Monday to Friday. An out of hour’s service over the weekends is also covered by one of the clinical nurse specialist team. If your own CNS is on leave or days off, her mobile phone will divert to another member of the CNS team.

Although based at Addenbrookes Hospital, we offer an outreach service in your local area, including hospital and home visiting. Each CNS offers the specialist nursing service across a defined geographical area within the Eastern Region.

We provide ongoing specialist advice and support, regarding your baby's cleft lip and/or palate, from initial the initial diagnosis to the teenage years. We have expert knowledge in feeding assessment and management, pre-and post-operative care, and all other aspects of cleft care including access to other support services within the cleft team and at our outreach hospitals.

  • Peri Codling - Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Lesley Beckson - Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Tracey Eddy - Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Claire Fitzsimon – Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Anna Ratcliffe - Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Gemma Leach – Paediatric Plastics Specialist Support Nurse

Speech and Language Therapy

The Specialist Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) in the cleft service specifically work with children and adults born with a cleft palate (with or without a cleft lip). We provide information and advice to families about speech and language development and how the palate works for speech starting when children are a few months old. The SLT team monitor progress throughout speech development and growth via sessions at defined intervals. However, if parents or patients are concerned they can contact us at any time to arrange an appointment.

Reviews at regular intervals enables the team to identify children who need to be seen more frequently or who need additional help for their speech. Sometimes this additional help might involve speech and language therapy intervention for speech sounds and being able to be understood. Sometimes this can also involve further investigations if additional surgery might be needed to help with velopharyngeal function (the ability of the palate to close against the back wall of the throat during speech).

We liaise closely with community NHS SLT services and any other SLT providers who are working with children or adults known to our service across the region. This includes local specialist SLTs working in community children’s speech and language therapy services. Our aim is to help children to become confident speakers by the time they start school, however we also see older children and adults who were born with a cleft and who would still like help with their speech.

As well as people who were born with a cleft, we also see children and adults who weren’t born with a cleft but who have concerns about speech that sounds like the soft palate may not be closing tightly against the back walls of the throat. When this happens, this is called non-cleft velopharyngeal dysfunction.

Please see our patient information leaflets here.

  • Caroline Hattee - Lead advanced specialist speech and language therapist
  • Georgie Linford - Advanced specialist speech and language therapist
  • Lucy Southby - Lead advanced specialist speech and language therapist
  • Leah Moors - Advanced specialist speech and language therapist
  • Hannah Chandler - Specialist speech and language therapist

Orthodontics and Dentistry

A paediatric dentist will also be involved in the early years, and as your child grows up other specialists from the dental and orthodontic teams might become involved.

  • Rowena Rimes - Consultant orthodontist
  • Jackie Smallridge - Consultant paediatric dentist
  • Amardip Kalsi – Consultant Restorative Dentist
  • Ahmed Din – Consultant orthodontist
  • Veni Cochrane – Speciality Doctor

Psychology

Cleft Psychology Team | CUH

A clinical psychologist is someone who is interested in understanding and working with how people think, feel and behave. Our team will work with you, or members of your family, to build a shared understanding of your/your child’s current difficulties and what might have contributed to them starting in the first place. We will support you to better understand your emotional experiences, think about ways to help improve how you are feeling and help you to re-engage with things that are important to you. Our team try to help people adjust to and cope with all sorts of challenging situations.

In the Cleft Team, we understand that having a cleft lip and/or palate, and having the associated treatment can at times be challenging for some individuals and their families. Not all individuals born with a cleft lip and/or palate will need to see a psychologist.

Below is a diagram which illustrates some of the key areas in which our team can support you or your family:

A diagram showing the many areas which the Cleft Psychology team cover

The main role of the Cleft Psychologists is to try to minimise the impact that a cleft lip and/or palate can have on patients and their families

We can support individuals with cleft lip and/or palate at any stage during their life. Below are the main areas in which we can support families along the Cleft care pathway. For more information about each area, please read our Cleft Psychology Leaflet (above).

  • Antenatal support for expectant parents
  • Postnatal support for parents
  • Supporting parents in speaking to their child about their Cleft
  • Psychological impact of having a Cleft- Young People and/or parents
  • Support around upcoming medical procedures
  • Future surgery decisions
  • Adult returners (support for adults aged 22+ who may have previously been discharged from the Cleft treatment pathway)

  • Richa Aspland – Lead Clinical Psychologist
  • Karine Edme - Clinical Psychologist
  • Briony Westgate - Clinical Psychologist
  • Francesca Woolgar – Clinical Psychologist

Audiology

All babies have a newborn hearing screening test; babies with cleft palate will need ongoing audiology tests to monitor and optimise hearing.

  • Victoria Parfect – Audiological Scientist

Photography

The Medical Photography team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital specialise in photographing patients to produce accurate images that show their medical condition clearly.

Children born with a Cleft lip and/or palate will be photographed at regular intervals. Key points include before and after surgery, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years old, as well as at any other time that your clinician may require photography.

These photographs are used to help preparations for surgery, to track progress of treatment and for audit.

  • Abbey Hespin - Lead Cleft photographer
  • Carmen Carrera-Bravo – Medical Photographer / Imaging Technician

Administration

The Administration team comprises of the Network Manager, Cleft Co-ordinator, Secretaries, Admissions Coordinator and Data Manager.  The team are the first point of contact for Cleft.NET.East. We are responsible for the co-ordination and booking of appointments, surgeries and for answering queries.

As the hub for the area, we facilitate good communication between families, professionals and the spoke hospitals.

Should you or your child experience any issues that you would like to talk through with someone from the Cleft team, please get in touch with one of the Administration team.

  • Mary Bance - Network manager
  • Tiffany Eagling - Cleft Coordinator
  • Ashley Brand - Admission Coordinator Pathway Tracker
  • Juan-José Blasco - Data manager
  • Sandra Springer – Medical Secretary
  • Jenny Bailey – Medical Secretary
  • Jola Habasllari – Medical Secretary (temporary post)
  • Kirsty Lagadu – Medical Secretary (on leave until 2022)
  • Julia Vellacott – Speech and Language Therapy Admin Assistant (away on secondment 2022-2023)
  • Alex Ratliff - Speech and Language Therapy Admin Assistant

Research

Research has long been recognised and supported by clinicians for its importance in healthcare. It plays an important role in guiding treatment, care pathways and making sure that existing treatments are used in the best possible ways. Research can help to find answers to things that are unknown, filling gaps in knowledge and changing the way that healthcare professionals work and interact with patients and their families.

The Cleft Team undertakes research related to all aspects of being born with, and living with, a cleft lip and or palate and are currently expanding the role of research within the Team.

Research Team

  • Dr Lucy Southby - Research Lead, Cleft.Net.East
  • Dr Elaine Davidson, MD - Cleft Research Professional

Active Research Studies at Cleft Net East

The Cleft Collective Cohort Studies

The Cleft Collective cohort studies investigate the biological and environmental causes of cleft, the best treatments for cleft and the psychological impact of cleft on those affected and their families.

University of Bristol: The Cleft Collective

Cleft Collective Speech and Language Study

This project will follow children’s speech and language development in the first three years of life and includes asking parents to record their child’s speech at 13 months, using a special recording device called LENA.

University of Bristol: Bristol Dental School's Cleft Collective Speech and Language Study

SLUMBRs2

This research study will address the key issue concerning the lack of evidence and clinical consensus regarding sleep position for infants with cleft palate. The study is a multi-centred randomised controlled trial.

Cleft Lip and Palate Association: SLUMBRs II

Other Research

A variety of other research studies are carried out by the speciality clinicians within the Team, at different times.

Speech and Language Therapy

This current study will look at children’s early language indicators/abilities, and the relationship with Speech and Language Therapists ability to judge velopharyngeal (palate) function in children born with cleft palate, at their 18-24 month assessment point.

Taking Part in Cleft-Net-East Research Projects and Further Information

If you or your child are a patient at Cleft Net East and interested in taking part in any of these studies please get in touch by emailing Cleft Net East.

Thank you!