Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport visits QMU

By Press Office

Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, visited Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh to learn about the institution’s vital work in healthcare and its ambitious plans to engage with community groups, the third sector and businesses to improve health outcomes for Scotland.

During the visit on Thursday 7th March, the Cabinet Secretary was provided with a tour of the healthcare facilities and introduced to key areas of QMU’s work which is having an impact on the community. The Principal and Dean of the School of Health Sciences were pleased to demonstrate how QMU’s speech sciences, dementia and public health projects are making a positive impact on the lives of children and adults.

Over the last few years, QMU has developed an international reputation for its work in person-centred practice development and research which has resulted in successful long-term collaborations in the UK, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Slovenia and South Africa. As specialists in nursing and the allied health professions, QMU is focused on developing graduates and NHS healthcare professionals that take a person-centred approach to all areas of healthcare planning and practice.

Professor Fiona Coutts, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, discussed with the cabinet secretary how the University’s plans for interdisciplinary working between nurses and allied health professionals will help equip the workforce to meet the Scottish Government’s desired healthcare outcomes. She also talked through the University’s aspirations to develop a multidisciplinary healthcare clinic, creative space for third sector and SMEs to engage with the health agenda, and outdoor space for teaching and community engagement.

Professor Coutts said: “To reach this vision, this week we have launched the School of Health Sciences, Advancing Practice Academy. Our unique multi-professional learning environment offers postgraduate education for all allied health professionals and nurses to advance their knowledge and skills together in the four pillars of practice: clinical practice, facilitating learning, leadership and research.  Learning is underpinned by person-centred research, evidence and scholarship against a background of the current and evolving political and social landscape for health and wellbeing.”

Ms Freeman said: “I was very pleased to visit QMU today to see the impressive facilities and to hear about the work they are doing to support multi professional learning for allied health professionals and nurses. I met some enthusiastic students and was impressed with the innovative technologies being used to help improve speech for both children and adults.”

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “Since its inception in 1875, QMU’s work has focused on addressing some of the most pressing issues affecting our society. Today, we have been delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has taken time of our her busy schedule to find out how our relevant research and teaching continues to respond to the key issues of the day such as inequality, requirement for improvements in healthcare and care of the elderly. We were pleased to demonstrate how our pioneering research work in speech sciences is changing the lives of people with long terms speech communication problems, and how plans to create engagement spaces for community groups and businesses will help improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.  As a former nurse, the Cabinet Secretary was particularly keen to learn about our interdisciplinary healthcare approach and how our involvement in a new leadership centre for person-centred care will impact on the future health of the Scottish people.”

Professor Wend concluded: “We look forward to continuing our important work in research, knowledge exchange and teaching, and to ensure that our creative and bold approach to the future of healthcare will help improve quality of life for people in Scotland and beyond.”

Further information on QMU's Advancing Practice in Health Framework can be found on our website.

*Our new framework will offer a flexible approach to both continuing professional development and more formal awards (eg a master’s qualification). The framework will enable you to tailor your learning to your own needs. Students will benefit from learning alongside a range of health professionals as part of this multidisciplinary framework.

Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E:  T: 0131 474 0000.

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