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Regional Cleft Study Day

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

28.09.2018 | Cleft Net East at Addenbrooke's Hospital | Patient perspective talk

A professional development day for cleft specialists. My talk focused on patient journeys, including treatment complications, patient-doctor communication and psychological well-being.

This was a wonderful day for me. I listened to so many inspirational talks from speech therapy and orthodontic care to new research from the Cleft Collective and a cool insight into potential genetic links to cleft (although some of this went over my head a little).

It was a great opportunity to thank many members of my team, and when it came to my speech at the end of the day, I felt a little overwhelmed to present how my team have changed my life, whilst many of them were sitting as audience members.

My talk covered:

> a brief overview of my cleft treatment journey (from birth to present day).

> an exploration of how psychology can influence treatment decisions, namely my decision to have a septorhinoplasty (nasal reconstruction), and the maxillofacial osteotomy (jaw surgery) needed before this.

> the issues I had after my first jaw surgery, both physically and emotionally.

> how important patient-doctor communication is, especially the need to listen to patients.

> how excellent doctor-patient communication can empower patients in their treatment understanding and consequent decisions, and how it can be used to build excellent levels of trust.

> how life-changing surgery can be, and how surgery led to my advocacy for excellent patient-doctor communication, patient empowerment and cleft lip and palate awareness.

The highlight of the day came after my speech when I was thanked by so many leading consultants and professionals - from surgeons, orthodontists, nurses, midwives, speech therapists, psychologists to even paediatric dentists. They were all so grateful to me for sharing my story and were eager to learn more. I felt so honoured that I had been given the chance to share my journey with them, and it has made me eager to continue talking to professionals about patient perspectives and how health communication can be improved.

Other speakers included:

Miss Kanwalraj Moar (Clinical Lead for Cleft Lip and Palate Service and Consultant Cleft Surgeon)

Mr Per Hall (Consultant Cleft Surgeon)

Ms Lucy Southby (Lead SLT)

Mrs Jennie Roy (Advanced Specialist SLT)

Dr Simon Holden (Consultant in Clinical Genetics)

Ms Katarzyna Gajewska-Knapik (Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology)

Ms Elaine Davidson (The Cleft Collective Research Assistant)

Miss Rowena Rimes (Consultant Orthodontist)

Miss Rachel Willis (Consultant Orthodontist)

Miss Jackie Smallridge (Consultant Paediatric Dentist)

Miss Mina Vaidyanathan (Consultant Paediatric Dentist)

Mr Andrew Barber (Consultant in Restorative Dentistry)

If you have an opportunity coming up that you think might benefit from a ‘patient perspective’ talk, please feel free to email me at


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