Meet the Team
Nome Njini - Hospital Manager
Nome has over 10 years’ experience working in various mental health settings including Psychiatric Intensive Care, Older Adults, Adults of Working Age and CAMHS with a primary focus of advocating and supporting people whilst in crisis.
Nome was appointed Ward Manager of Sandford Ward in May 2017 and was promoted to Hospital Manager in March 2023.
Jo Sheward - Clinical Manager
Jo started her career as a support worker in the NHS in 2002, working with working age adults undertaking detoxification and rehabilitation in inpatient substance misuse services. Jo then expanded to working with children and younger adults up to the age of 25 in community substance misuse services.
Jo then trained as mental health nurse at the University of Southampton where she graduated as registered mental health nurse with an advanced diploma, before going on to undertake her degree and receiving a BN (Hons) from University of Southampton. While studying, Jo spent three years working as a support worker in mental health Inpatient acute, PICU and Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Services.
On qualifying, Jo worked as a staff nurse, before becoming a senior nurse where she worked within adult acute and PICU services. In 2017 Jo obtained post of ward manager for a 20 bed acute inpatient service within the NHS. Following this, Jo moved from Hampshire to Somerset where she began work within Cygnet Hospital Taunton in July 2019 on the 9 bed working age adult acute ward. In March 2023 Jo was promoted to Clinical Manager.
Dr Dave Barker - Medical Director
Dr Barker initially trained in General Psychiatry from 1992 at the University College London (UCL). He became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1995. In 2004, he completed higher specialist training (CCST) as a Clinical Research Fellow and Lecturer in North and East London, specialising in Forensic Psychiatry.
He gained a Masters in Medical Anthropology from the UCL in 1998 and a Masters in Philosophy and History of Science from the University of Bristol in 2019. He was recently a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. Dr Barker has published a number of scientific papers in important peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Archives of General Psychiatry and Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
Dr Barker worked as a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Cygnet Hospital Kewstoke for over 12 years until 2018 where he had responsibility for male and female low secure rehabilitation in the past, and later the male acute and male PICU services. Dr Barker has a special interest in first episode psychosis, schizophrenia and violence, anthropology and philosophical psychiatry.
Dr Barker joined the team at Cygnet Hospital Taunton in June 2017 and became Medical Director in September of the same year. He is responsible for 16 of the male acute beds (Sycamore Ward) at the hospital. He is the CPD Lead for the South West Region.
Gabriella Clifford - General Manager
Gabi completed a degree in Psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2014, following this she has completed placements and worked across various settings including Acute Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Older Adult Care.
Gabi joined Cygnet Hospital Taunton in 2015 as a Health Care Assistant before moving into the Administration Department working in various roles from Receptionist, to Ward Clerk, to Administration Manager and Compliance Manager before securing her current position as General Manager. During her time with Cygnet Health Care Gabi has also completed her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management through the Cygnet Health Care Development Pathway.
Kuda Goka - Ward Manager (Redwood Ward)
Kuda qualified in Zimbabwe as a General and Mental Health Nurse with qualifications in Occupational Safety and Health and Environmental management Kuda has a Bsc (honours) degree in Nursing Science and specialised in Mental Health nursing.
From 2008, Kuda worked in Zimbabwe across different units which included the Harare Psychiatric Hospital which deals with acute mental health issues and rehabilitation services.
Kuda relocated to the UK in 2020, working as a Staff Nurse and Nurse in Charge, before becoming Deputy Ward Manager of a low secure learning disability, autism and mental health ward in 2021.
Kuda joined Cygnet Hospital Taunton in 2022 as Ward Manager of Redwood Ward, with the main emphasis of rehabilitation and preparing for the community placement.
Kuda is focused on collaborative patient-centred care, with more emphasis on least restrictive practice and dedicated service provision.
Emma Lock – Ward Manager (Swift Ward)Emma qualified as a Registered General Nurse with a Post Graduate Diploma from Plymouth University. After qualifying Emma worked within the NHS on an acute surgical ward at Yeovil District Hospital, later going on to work in the Private Health Care Sector. Emma has extensive physical health care experience, and has a passion for the Health and Wellbeing of others. Emma joined Cygnet in 2019 as CTL on the Older Adults Ward, in 2021 Emma was promoted to the Ward Manager of the Older Adults Ward
Sam Amesbury - Ward Manager (Sycamore 2 and Peacocks Ward)
Sam qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 2013 after obtaining degree from the University of the South West of England.
Sam spent the first few years working in the private sector specialising in addictions, specifically Drug and Alcohol.
Sam joined Cygnet in 2017 as a staff nurse and was then swiftly promoted to CTL at the end of 2017. Sam spent four years working on the Acute Older Adult Ward and also spent some time working on the Learning Disability Ward before being promoted to the position of Ward Manager for Cygnet’s Male Acute Service- Sycamore 2 and Peacock Ward.
Francesco Caltagirone - Head of Psychology
Francesco qualified as a Doctor in psychology in 2002 in Italy (Universitá di Palermo) and became a registered professional the following year. He then earned a Specialising Diploma in Brief Strategic Psychotherapies in 2009 and worked mainly in private practice providing clinical support to adults, expert witness reports and clinical support to minors involved with the Juvenile Court.
Francesco has also gained experience in the fields of experimental neuropsychology and occupational psychology.
Having moved to the UK in 2014, he then re-qualified as an accredited Psychotherapist with the BACP and finally as a HCPC registered Psychologist in 2020, covering various roles within the NHS and with third sector companies.
He joined Cygnet Health in 2020 and relocated to Taunton after having been appointed Head of Psychology at the local Cygnet hospital.
Maria Harris - Head of Occupational Therapy/Regional OT Lead
Maria qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2005 and spent the majority of her clinical OT work within female services from secure to open primarily working with emotionally unstable personality disorder individuals, delivering comprehensive evidence based OT as well as training and delivering DBT. She had many years of leading the Women’s service, publishing work in the British Journal of OT as well as winning the organisations Prize for research and innovation. Maria also presented at various conferences around the country, sharing her passion for evidence based practice and specifically in the areas of Conservation before joining Cygnet in 2016.
Wanting to relocate, Maria seized on the opportunity to become the Head OT at Taunton whilst moving closer to family, bringing her passion for Occupational Therapy down south. In the last two years Maria has shared her passion and vision with the OT team with the clear goal of enhancing service provision and ensuring use of OT service line models. She is very keen to see an activity hub at Taunton to afford patients the opportunities to take on vocational roles, despite length of stay. In her dual role as Regional Lead Maria is working to build on skills sharing of OT’s across the region and a joined up way of working across the sites.
In her clinical role Maria has developed a specific OT pathway of care for the Acute Older adults taking in differences with the working age model. The service provision offered is tailored both for 1:1 specific interventions and group sessions in full collaboration with patients. Maria is looking forward to the challenges of enhancing service delivery further at Taunton and across the region.
Mark Methley – Speech and Language TherapistMark trained to be a speech and language therapist (SLT) after working as a care assistant in a residential home for adults with learning disabilities and autism. He spent several years in a specialist school supporting the communication and swallowing needs of young people with sensory impairments and additional disabilities before returning to working with adults. He is now a highly specialist SLT working part-time on Redwood Ward at Taunton. He also provides medico-legal assessments and quantum reports as an expert witness
Stuart Hooper - Active Life Lead
Stuart is our Active Life Lead, engaging our service users in enrichment activities, helping them in staying active through 1 to 1 or group physical engagement session at an intensity which suites their needs. Stuart has developed, introduced and implemented the “Empower Project” in all four of the south west hospitals. The project is a programme designed to support Cygnet staff from HCA, OTA, RMN and many others from the multidiscipline team, in becoming Activators.
Stuart is a registered and accredited performance coach who has over 16 years teaching experience. He has always had a passion to introduce students, patients and colleagues to the many opportunities sport has to offer, whilst developing and improving themselves.
Stuart is leading Cygnet Health Care into developing new and exciting partnerships within sport, national governing bodies and education to broaden the exposure of the Cygnet brand whilst continuing to provide outstanding levels of service to our service users, partners and fellow colleagues within the southwest.