The PSS Team
The PSS Team
Pregnancy Sickness Support is predominantly a volunteer run organisation. The Board of Trustees take responsibility for the day to day running of the Charity and the volunteer network provide national support to sufferers. We have grown significantly in the last year in response to the demand for our service, and now have six paid members of staff.
It is our hope to secure funding which will allow us to develop the Charity further and secure the financial future with formal funding and sponsorship.
In addition to the Trustees we have a board of medical professionals who assist with research and advise on medical and treatment issues.
Furthermore, we collaborate with various other organisations to increase service development, collaborate on research and provide international support to sufferers and their families.
We have over 500 volunteers across the UK who provide support to women the length and breadth of the country as well as supporting our work via fundraising, social media support and volunteering their specific skills.
Patrons of Pregnancy Sickness Support
Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health from 1992 to 1997. She founded Cumberlege Connections Ltd in 2003 and Cumberlege Eden and Partners in 2013. Both Companies specialise in training and consultancy to the health sector. Julia started her career in Local Government, as Leader of the Lewes District Council and Chair of Social Services for East Sussex. She has served on many public bodies and has produced two reports for the Government. She is an Honorary Fellow of five Royal Colleges and has Honorary Degrees from five universities.
Baroness Cumberlege is currently Chair of the National Maternity Review and has a wealth of experience in healthcare leadership. She has chaired working parties for the Royal College of Physicians – which led to the ‘Doctors in Society’ (2005) and ‘Future Physicians: Changing Doctors in a Changing World’ (2010) reports. She is a Patron of the National Childbirth Trust and Vice President of the Royal College of Midwives. In the 1990s she also led a major review on maternity care, producing the ‘Changing Childbirth’ report for the Department of Health.
Dr Tony Barnie-Adshead (Founding Trustee) is a retired GP in Nuneaton. He has shared research into various aspects of pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis since the mid 1960's. His interest started when a lady with severe symptoms said that it had been such a bad experience that she didn't want to contemplate having another pregnancy and didn't medical science know what was causing it? He has spent the last 45 years researching the answer to that question. Following his wishes to retire as Trustee Tony has been made Patron.
Michelle Owen - Sky Sports broadcaster
Trustees of Pregnancy Sickness Support
Dr Caitlin Dean (Chair) is a Registered General Nurse specialising in hyperemesis gravidarum. She has suffered three times with hyperemesis gravidarum and has undertaken a PhD in Amsterdam to further the research efforts for HG. In addition to her research Caitlin spends her time providing education for healthcare professionals and writing extensively for both the medical and lay press and writes the popular Spewing Mummy blog. Her work for PSS led to the 2015 Third Sector Award for Charity Chair Person of the Year and a Nursing Times Award for Inspirational Nurse Leader. Her savvy media strategy has ensured that hyperemesis gravidarum has has a consistent and powerful presence in the UK media over the last ten years. She has two boys aged 13 and 11 and a girl aged 9. They live on a sheep farm in Cornwall.
Dr Roger Gadsby (Founding Trustee and Treasurer) who has just retired as a GP in Nuneaton and now works for five sessions a week as an Associate Clinical Professor at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick. He has had an interest in pregnancy sickness symptoms since he joined the same practice as Dr Tony Barnie-Adshead in 1979. Together they have carried out research and published papers and articles on pregnancy sickness symptoms. Roger was awarded an MBE in 2009.
Ms Caroline Pratt (Founding Trustee and Secretary) is the daughter of Dr Tony Barnie-Adshead. She suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness) and was lucky to benefit from the knowledge of her father. She says "It is difficult for people who don't suffer to understand how unpleasant it can be. I think that the work of this charity is important as it is providing support and information for sufferers and carers".
Dr Margaret O'Hara (Vice Chair) has a background in physics teaching and medical physics research. She is currently the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in Research Lead for University Hospital Birmingham based at the Institute of Translational Medicine. Having observed several relatives suffer with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, she conducted her own research on treatment protocols before becoming pregnant and found a clinician who prescribed antiemetics as soon as her HG started. After her pregnancy with her daughter, in 2010 she set up the website www.pregnancysicknesssos.co.uk to disseminate the information that she had gathered and to assist other women to obtain treatment. Using the website, she has conducted surveys of women's experiences of HG in the UK. She has been a volunteer for PSS since 2011 and is a co-author on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists clinical practice guidelines for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Dr Shazia Zafar is a research scientist working at the University of Birmingham in the area of applied health research. Her current research includes mixed method investigations using both qualitative and quantitative methods on topics directly affecting the public (abuse & violence, mental health, end of life care). Hyperemesis Gravidarum research consists of 1) investigating the language used by health professionals and patients in doctor-patient / health professional-patient relationships and also 2) investigating how HG affects women in their work places. She came across PSS only after having suffered severely from hyperemesis herself twice. She also chaired a committee for a different organisation which led to projects such as creating laboratories for the public. More recently in her Women in Science role, has been the creation of science sessions at Botanical Gardens which were aimed at visiting schools and public but especially for engaging girls in science. The science sessions included practical experiments and resulted in reaching out to home-schooled children (before the pandemic and lockdown) who had no access to taught science experiments. After finding out about the wonderful work the charity does to support women she went on to become a volunteer for PSS in order to help and pass on her knowledge and strong scientific experience.
Mrs Katie Chappelle
A former journalist, Katie has been working in communications and public affairs roles for health-related charities since 2013, her most recent role being with the Stroke Association.
A mum-of-two, Katie suffered with hyperemesis in her second pregnancy and was supported by Pregnancy Sickness Support. She went on to volunteer as a peer supporter, before becoming a charity Trustee in 2020.
Staff on the PSS team
Chief Operations Officer - Leonie Searle
Leonie has been with the charity for over 2 years, initially as a Support & Development Coordinator, and was lead for the charity's online support services as well as supporting volunteers and overseeing the TeamPSS fundraising. With the charity's growth, and Leonie's passion for the work that PSS undertakes she has now moved into the role of Chief Operations Officer, overseeing the team at PSS-HQ and striving to offer the highest quality of service.
Leonie has a background in Youth and Community work having both worked and volunteered for various community projects around Cornwall and studied for a foundation degree in Community Studies (development and youth work). You can contact Leonie directly at Leonie@pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk
Project Administrator - Kirsty Wright
Kirsty is our Project Administrator, her role involves updating and adding to PSS's resources, website, and training programs. Kirsty enjoys creating systems and processes, her organisational skills will refine the administration of PSS-HQ. Kirsty has a passion for equality and supporting people; part of her role is to outreach to disadvantaged groups to work alongside them giving everyone a voice in the PSS community.
Kirsty has a dispensary background and has run her own business in the well-being sector. When she had her daughter in 2016 she volunteered for her local Breastfeeding Support Group and continued to work from home until she joined us in March 2021. You can contact Kirsty directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer Support Coordinator - Tuesday McEwan
Having been a volunteer for the charity for over 3 years, Tuesday is now our Peer Support Coordinator and lead of the Social Media Team. She will be coordinating our Peer Support Network, matching volunteers to our service users to give them ongoing emotional support throughout their pregnancy and heading up our new Mentor system.
Tuesday has come from a background of working with challenging behaviour within the education sector, but having suffered a difficult pregnancy with her third son, her passion now lies with the charity and their mission. You can contact Tuesday directly at email@example.com
Helpline Coordinator - Julie Berry
Julie joined the PSS team to take on the role of Helpline Coordinator. Julie has joined PSS from a counselling background, working mainly within the education sector. Julie works in a very personal centred way, tailoring support to meet everyone’s individual needs, always striving to provide a high standard service for service users and their families.
Julie has also had some experience carrying out research assistant work and going forward would like to collaborate and work alongside other lead professionals, engaging in relevant HG related research. You can contact Julie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and Support Assistant - Carly Prescott
Carly has joined our team as an Information and Support Assistant and is one of the first points of contacts for our service users. Carly has a BSc Counselling Studies and uses these skills to communicate sincerely, and with empathy. She is dedicated to giving a comprehensive and supportive service, driven by her passion to advocate for people who feel they don't have a voice with their healthcare providers.
Carly has joined PSS from a background of working in a busy GP practice as a trainee dispenser, as well as taking on responsibilities in other departments within the practice. In the past she has volunteered for Penhaligon’s Friends, a Cornish charity helping bereaved children and teenagers, as well as volunteering for Victim Support. You can contact Carly directly at email@example.com
Information and Support Assistant - Harriet Hubbard
Harriet joined the PSS team in December 2021 as an Information and Support Assistant and is one of the first points of contact for our service users when they are accessing the charity for help. Harriet assists in providing opportunities for the support team to research and continually update the information that is available nationally for sufferers.
Harriet has joined PSS from a busy GP practice as a dispenser and has a Diploma in Person Centred Counselling and Therapy. This experience helps to bring an empathetic and compassionate understanding when offering support; helping to empower others to advocate for themselves and find their voice. In the past she has volunteered for CRUSE bereavement charity and Counsellors Together Counselling agency. You can contact Harriet directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fundraising Coordinator - Leanne Thomas
Leanne’s role involves overseeing and coordinating the fundraising for the charity. Leanne enjoys working closely with people and loves to inspire, produce and assist supporters and volunteers with ideas and challenges, as they help us in raising vital funds for our charity. Having had a difficult pregnancy herself, Leanne is very passionate about our cause and helping us continue the support we offer.
Leanne obtained her BSc in Zoology and has spent the last 7 years working in the charity industry, here she realised her passion for fundraising and education. You can contact Leanne directly at email@example.com
Medical Advisory Board and Research Team
In addition to the doctors and nurses on the board of trustees the charity also has a number of the UK's leading experts involved in the the charity's operation.
While not involved in the day to day administration the following experts are available to provide insight and expertise in their particular fields to ensure the information the Charity provides is gold standard. Furthermore they are involved in the charity's research direction and service development advice.
Prof Catherine Nelson -Piercy - Professor of obstetric medicine and consultant obstetric physician, Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Gina Harrap - Dental Surgeon, member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons
Manjeet Shehmar - Deputy Medical Director Consultant Gynaecology Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
Dr Yusra Khan (Chair) - GP
Dr Caitlin Dean - Nurse Specialist
Professor Roger Gadsby - retired GP and Associate Clinical Professor Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick.
Dr Margaret O'Hara - Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in Research Lead for University Hospital Birmingham based at the Institute of Translational Medicine.
Pregnancy Sickness Support recognises the need for inter-organisational working to further the agenda for pregnant women suffering nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. Since our inception we have worked hard to establish good relationships with a number of professional bodies, other charities and organisations with mutual aims. Here are some of the organisations we are proud to partner with.
The Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation is our sister organisation in America. Working to further research and education into the extreme end of the NVP spectrum we collaborate particularly on coordinating international support for sufferers.
The Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative is an independent, nonprofit organization that aims to raise awareness and help address the information vacuum concerning the use of medicines and medical treatment in pregnancy. They serve as an enabler, by connecting individuals, groups, and initiatives across the field of healthcare. They aim to bring this issue to the top of the healthcare agenda and facilitate the conversation around regulation, ethics, research and care.
Birmingham Women's Hospital is paving the way in excellent hyperemesis care in the UK. Their IV day unit sets a high standard which we hope one day to see across the UK. Consultant Miss Manjeet Shehmar sits on our Medical Advisory Board and works with us to further the research and service development aspects of the charity.
Nottingham University Hospital have partnered with us via their Better for You project in order to improve hyperemesis care across the county. Together we are establishing an IV day unit at the Queen's Medical Centre site as well as implementing a Primary Care treatment guideline for GP's in the county. There is a longer term ambition to establish an IV at Home service for the more rural areas of the county and support in the area will be coordinated effort between the charity and the hospitals.
Thanks go to NUH for the sample GP and Hospital guidelines on this website.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) is the UK’s leading independent reproductive healthcare provider. bpas supports reproductive choice by providing contraception and abortion services, primarily on behalf of the NHS. We are collaborating with them to ensure women suffering hyperemesis gravidarum have received full access to treatments, information and support before opting to end an otherwise wanted pregnancy.
Pregnancy & Baby Charities Network
Pregnancy Sickness Support is a member of the Pregnancy & Baby Charities Network and works alongside other charities.
The Network represents UK charities whose focus includes one or more of the following:
- to reduce the number of babies who die during pregnancy, birth or in the early weeks of life;
- to reduce morbidity in newborn babies and improve care for these babies and their parents;
- to improve care throughout the path to parenthood: before, during and after pregnancy and after losing a baby or pregnancy.
The PBCN is governed by agreed Terms of Reference.
Read their Manifesto 2019 setting out key priorities
Expanded Manifesto with added background information
"I've found having a peer supporter really useful. A few texts seems like such a small thing, but it’s meant a lot to know I’m not alone and that there is someone that I can speak to, who has been through it themselves"
Nausea & vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) is very common, on average it affects 70-80% of pregnant women to a greater or lesser extent.
30% of pregnant women in paid employment need time off work due to NVP.
85% of pregnant women have two episodes of nausea per day.
You are not aloneIf you think you are suffering from HG please call us for support on: 024 7638 2020
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HG is a condition at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum. It affects 1% of women with pregnancy sick… https://t.co/dj4ditHrW5
07:56 20th January
Take part in research
Have you experienced a pregnancy affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)? Do you want to tell your story for research?
"The helpline was really comforting, and the volunteer peer supporter was so kind, and gave practical support for my GP appointment.."