Services provided by the Neurology department

When children are admitted to Koala Ward or attend as outpatients, they may be seen by a number of other professionals as well as by the doctors and nurses. All of us work together as the Great Ormond Street Hospital neurology multidisciplinary team.

Neurology clinical nurse specialists

Our clinical nurse specialists offer support, information and advice to families and liaise with other professionals.

As clinical experts they can answer questions about your child's condition and, working closely with the consultants and local services, monitor and adjust treatments.

Our clinical nurse specialists are:

  • Claire Toolis 
  • Joanne Mortimer
  • Laura Nallen
  • Rachael Durling
  • Kate Crumpler


Psychology in neurology has many facets. The ultimate goal is to promote psychological well-being (emotional, behavioural) in the child or young person and their family.

We work to develop positive coping strategies and good quality of life. Patients are seen while they are inpatients on Koala Ward or outpatients for individual or group treatment.

Occupational therapy assessment

Occupational therapy assessment usually takes place on the ward and consists of standardised tests as well as observation of your child’s functional skills and development, and discussions with parents and carers.

We assess areas such as home and school environment, seating and postural needs, current skills in self-care, visual perceptual skills, handwriting and other fine motor skills, hand function, pain and sensory issues.

We advise on positioning and seating systems, and if appropriate, we provide wheelchairs while your child is an inpatient. We also make hand and elbow splints to prevent contracture.


Children on the neurology wards present with a variety of neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, stroke, encephalitis, transverse myelitis and neurometabolic conditions. These conditions may result in difficulties with posture, abnormal movement such as ataxia (a lack of balance) and weakness that can hinder a child’s development.

Physiotherapy assessment and treatment aim to maximise your child’s functional abilities.

Treatment may involve positioning, facilitatory techniques, advice to help with management of tone/movement disorders, and rehabilitation to assist with regaining or improving functional abilities.

Speech and language therapy

While your child is an inpatient at the hospital, they may be referred to a speech and language therapist for assessment of their feeding and swallowing, and/or communication skills.

The referral will generally be for children who have experienced a recent, acute change in these areas rather than a more long-standing difficulty.


Feeding assessment includes taking a comprehensive case history, oro-motor examination and observation of a meal where appropriate. This may lead to further investigations such as X-ray of the swallowing mechanism.

The child's levels of communication skills and needs are evaluated using formal and informal assessments.


The play specialist will try and make your stay on the ward more fun. They will help your child choose a game, puzzle, DVD or craft activity from the play room. They can also use play to help your child to get ready for an X-ray or test.

Social work

There is a social work service available to support parents and children during their stay in hospital.