Hello My Name Is... Nikki Harvey (OT, boxer, budding MP...the sky's the limit!)

Hello my name is… 

Nikki Harvey.  I am from Surrey but now live in Hebden Bridge and have worked for CHFT since 2008.  I have 2 boys aged 5 and 7.

Before training as an OT I was a care assistant.  I studied OT at Ripon and York St John, and after qualifying worked in England for 2 years and then moved to New Zealand where I lived for 5 years  Leaving New Zealand was hard as I loved it there (I have dual citizenship) but it would have been hard to settle so far from family.  I have always loved travelling and adventure (I have a paragliding licence and Padi Open Water licence that are probably long expired!). However, now I have a young family I am a lot more settled! 


What is your position?

Currently I work as a Mental Health Practitioner in Intermediate Care.  Our service users are predominantly the frail elderly and come to our service primarily because of a change in their physical health (i.e. through a fall).

However, many have mental health needs which ranges from enduring mental health conditions to depression / anxiety reactive to current circumstances and delirium.  My role involves ensuring that service user’s mental health / emotional well-being needs are supported whilst in our service.

I also assess cognition and complete Mental Capacity and Best Interest Assessments with Social Work colleagues when appropriate.

My skills in this area have been greatly improved by my managers supporting me to complete a Best Interest Assessor qualification in 2015 which Calderdale Council funded. I am now released by CHFT to do x4 Best Interest Assessments for Calderdale Council a year.  Best Interest Assessments are an essential part of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and I have learnt a lot about MCA and DoLS legislation and how this translates into practice.  I use this awareness of the legislation to ensure that service user’s human rights are at the forefront of care and treatment decision making in Intermediate Care. I also use the knowledge I gain in the role to train colleagues in our and other teams throughout the Trust.


Tell us about your career background?

I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1998 and have worked in many permanent and locum roles in the UK and New Zealand.  I really enjoy the flexibility of the OT role and the breadth of experience on offer.  In particular I loved working in a specialist acquired brain injury unit in New Zealand where mental and physical health skills were both essential in the role.  I would write programs for case managers and could work with service users from recovering from post-traumatic amnesia through to back to work and school programs. I have also worked in community rehab, vocational rehab, social services adaptations, general medical, forensic mental health, acute mental health and now Intermediate Care. I was employed as an Occupational Therapist with the Trust in 2008 but commenced in a Mental Health Practitioner role in 2014 as I was missing mental health work!

What are the best bits about your job?

  • Having time to really listen to what service users are saying.
  • Being able to follow people up at home to assess them in their own environment and offer any further support that could help improve their quality of life / mental and / or physical health.
  • Be able to be led by the person in the input I provide.
  • Constantly learning from and being inspired by service users.

What is the highlight of your career so far?

Just one! I have three...

  • The positive impact of a Garden’s for Health project that I led in New Zealand and the coverage it received.
  • Being wished happy birthday on ‘City Hospital’ as a Basic Grade many years ago and having a Christmas lunch with Nick Knowles and Philip Schofield!
  • Being supported by management to do my Best Interest Assessor training.

Sum up your role in three words?

People, listening, advocating.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A spy!

Who is your hero/heroine and why?

An old friend of mine called Eva.  She was a political activist, standing up for what she believed in even when she was in very frail health, because she wanted to leave the world a better place for others.

When you are not at work how do you relax?

Quality time with family. I love walking, reading the paper and having copious lattes in Hebden’s many cafes! And I like to box at Hebden Boxing Club!


What is your favourite place?

Hebden Bridge or Golden Bay (New Zealand).


What would people be surprised to know about you?

I stood as a parliamentary candidate in the New Zealand elections in 2005.