Peta Elizabeth Smith, MD
Peta has built up a wealth of experience and expertise in the assessment and treatment of babiesand young children with neuro-disability over the past 30 years.
In 1994 Eastern and Coastal.Kent NHS Primary Care Trust and East Kent University Hospital Foundation Trust recognised a gap in services for vulnerable premature and high-risk neonates and born in South East Kent.
A successful joint bid from the primary and secondary care services led to Peta’s appointment to a full time dedicated post initially as Clinical Specialist Neonatal Physiotherapist, and after.
Agenda for Change as Consultant Neonatal Physiotherapist to the South East Kent regional level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the William Harvey Hospital Ashford Kent and the Children’s.
Assessment Centre of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital Canterbury. This role offered an equitable service, one of the wider health targets, for neonates across East Kent and included early identification and management of infants at risk of developmental or neurological difficulties.
It demonstrates effective partnership working between the acute and community Trusts in order to improve the quality of care to these vulnerable infants and their families.
She provided a specialist assessment and advisory service on a consultative basis to the NICU identifying children who will most benefit from effective early intervention, targeting the children and families who are most at risk, and promotes a smooth transition of care from the acute services to the community based early support services across East Kent when a need is identified, at the appropriate time, to help to ensure improved outcomes for these vulnerable high risk infants.
The neonatal physiotherapist took the lead role in the standardised screening and assessment of infants after discharge.
A specialty joint neurological neonatal follow up clinic was developed in two hospitals across the locality for infants who were particularly at risk. These clinics continue to run today.
The infants are seen by the Consultant Neonatologist and the neonatal physiotherapist together in order to share skill and experience when identifying, diagnosing and monitoring neurodevelopment problems. Counselling is also an important role of these clinics, when difficult disclosures of diagnosis and prognosis of likely outcomes are discussed with the parents and carers.
Peta sat on the Kent and Medway Neonatal Network Board and was also a member of the Clinical Forum and Education and Training committee of that network.
Peta has a wealth of experience in her role as an educationalist for specialist medical, therapy and nursing staff staff on the neuro-motor and neuro-behavioural development and assessment
of preterm and term born infants in the NICU.
She regularly lectured on the post graduate Neonatal Nursing courses at Canterbury Christchurch University and Greenwich University and was an invited lecturer at University College London, Institute of Child Health on the Post Graduate MSc in Advanced Paediatric, Neuro Physiotherapy course on the subject of ‘Infant Developmental Assessment’. Peta was also an invited lecturer at both Brighton and Sheffield Hallam Universities on post
graduate MSc courses. Peta retired from clinical practice in 2012.
In retirement from clinical work Peta continues to provide education and mentoring for specialist postgraduate therapy and neonatal nurses throughout the UK, Ireland and Internationally.
She regularly travels to Dubai to teach and act as mentor and clinical supervisor to the physiotherapists who work on the large Neonatal Intensive Care unit Al Wasl Hospital. Peta presented at the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists ( ISCP) National Conference in Dublin November 2009 and also at APCP National Conference in Belfast November 2009. Peta was co-founder and the first Chair of the Neonatal Network of APCP and retired as Chair of APCP in November 2008 after serving 8 years on APCP national committee.
Brady A and Smith P. ‘A competence Framework and Evidence Based Guidance for Physiotherapists working
in the Neonatal Intensive Care and Special Care Baby Unit ‘; for the Association of Paediatric Chartered
Physiotherapists (APCP) May 2011 and updated November 2015