Interview with QMU graduate, Tracy MacInnes

By Press Office

Tracy MacInnes, kicked off her higher education journey with QMU. She’s now Associate Chief Health Professions Officer with the Scottish Government.

Read Tracey’s interview about her education, career progression and her thoughts on the role of dietitians. Then consider coming along to QMU’s Postgraduate Open Evening to see if it could help lead you to your dream job.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional career to date?

"I qualified as a Dietitian from what was, Queen Margaret College, in 1986. I started my first job at Stoke Royal Infirmary which was a rotational basic grade post so covered renal, paeds and community, which provided me with a really solid platform to build on. I then went to Stafford District General and worked as the Senior 1 dealing again with a complex and varied workload within primary and secondary care.

"I moved back to Scotland in 1992 and was successful in getting the Renal Dietetic post at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow. This was my first experience of working outside of a dietetic department and within a wider multi-professional team, where I began to extend my scope of practice.

"My last dietetic post was as the Chief Dietitian within the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

"I then moved to work as the Senior Professional Advisor at the Care Inspectorate and had responsibility for the regulation of independent hospital and hospices in Scotland.

"This is where my interest in integration started as I lead teams of officers who had professional backgrounds from education, social care police and health.

"I was awarded the IBEX Award for Professional Achievement in 2003 by the BDA and in 2005 I completed my Masters in Healthcare Management at Strathclyde University and my Postgraduate Certificate in Social Services Leadership, from Robert Gordon's University - phew!!

"In 2009, I joined the Scottish Government and I'm presently the Associate Chief Health Professions Officer."

How would you describe the work of a dietitian?

"Dietitians use the most up to date health and scientific information on food and health and interpret it in to practical advice and support to people of all ages to make informed lifestyle food choices."

Can you describe your current role with the Scottish Government and what does a typical day involve?

""My role is to support and advise any Minister and other colleagues from within Scottish Government in respect to Allied Health and Healthcare Science. This helps ensure they have the most up to date information to hand. This involves supporting the Ministers at external visits, conferences and face to face meetings with stakeholders. The team I work within leads on AHP and HCS policy development and supports implementation at service level.""


With regards to profile, who should dietitian's/the profession be engaging with and what should their key messages be?

"Population health and reducing inequalities is a huge priority for us in Scotland and I believe that the dietetic workforce has a vital role to play by having healthy conversations at every opportunity and interaction with people who use our services, their families or carers to promote healthy lifestyle choices and signpost to relevant health and/or social care services."

What makes a good leader?

"Someone who can influence outside of their sphere of responsibility."

What do you think are the key challenges for the profession over the next few years? And how do you think dietitians can work collectively to address these?

"We are living in a challenging economic time with real financial constraints whilst moving forward to working in a more integrated way. People are living longer now and demands on our services will become greater so we need to deliver services differently and  we need to spread and sustain good practice throughout Scotland.

"Scottish Government is always looking for examples of good practice and innovative ideas!"

What do you believe is the future for the dietetics profession in Scotland and the UK? What role do they play in the NHS and society as a whole?

"I believe that dietetics has a huge role in addressing the health and social care of our population. This is throughout the life curve, from conception right through to last stages of someone’s’ life. Dietitians should be leading the way with consistent public health messages."

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