@scotgov Minister for Mental Health Visits UWS’ Ayr Campus

Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Mental Health visited our Ayr Campus to learn more about The Carer’s Academy, a collaborative venture between NHS Ayrshire & Arran and UWS.

Her visit began with an overview of the initiative, which offers carers the opportunity to develop increased levels of knowledge and skills via an authentic and interactive educational programme based at the campus.

Led by Susan Holland, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant and Alison Toner, UWS Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, The Carer’s Academy has recently been shortlisted for Best Educational Initiative in this years Scottish Dementia Awards (See This Story)

During her visit, the Minister met with a group of carers and students who discussed the practical aspects and benefits of the programme, as well as their own individual experiences.

The visit concluded with the Minister being shown the clinical areas on the Ayr Campus which play host to The Carer’s Academy, including the skills wards and DOMUS, an award-winning, state-of-the-art, immersive and simulated learning facility, replicating some of the physical and sensory changes associated with the ageing process.

Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Mental Health, said:

“This was a great opportunity to see the impact The Carer’s Academy is having on family carers of people living with dementia. There is no doubt that innovative approaches like this one can help to develop knowledge and understanding of the condition. We (at the Scottish Governemnt) are committed to supporting people with dementia and their carers. We continue to implement our national dementia strategy and have introduced new rights under the Carers Act for carers to access the support they need.”

Julie Edgar, the Dean of the our School added

“We were delighted to welcome Clare Haughey MSP to our Ayr Campus today to highlight the important and ground-breaking work UWS and NHS Ayrshire & Arran are undertaking to improve the lives of those living with dementia and their carers. The University is committed to having a positive impact on the local communities it serves, so we are extremely proud to be able to work with NHS Ayrshire & Arran to support The Carer’s Academy. For us to be able to showcase the initiative and demonstrate first-hand the benefits it brings to students and carers is fantastic. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Minister for visiting us and showing her interest in our pioneering educational programme.

Susan Holland, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant at NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said:

“Knowledge and skills programmes such as the Carer’s Academy are undoubtedly of value to family members and carers of people living with dementia, not only on a practical level, but also in facilitating peer support and establishing connections with local support services. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved in supporting the development of The Carer’s Academy programme. It has been both an honour and a privilege to work with local families and carers, and to share expertise in dementia care”.