Improving nursing practice through learning and development

An innovative conference for healthcare leaders and practitioners which aims to advance learning and development practices will be held in Scotland this summer.

‘Enhancing Practice Conference 2016’ will provide nurse professionals and other healthcare staff with the opportunity to learn from some of the most influential nurse leaders and social leadership experts in Europe. The conference will share examples of best practice in healthcare and encourage participants to unearth the deeper levels of good practice development.

The event, which will take place at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, will run from 31 August until 2nd September with pre conference workshops taking place on 30 August.

It is only the second time in 14 years that the event has been held in Scotland, and the University’s event organisers aim to present a world leading conference which has a Scottish twist.

Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of the Division of Nursing and Professor Jan Dewing, Director of the Centre for Person-centred Practice Research at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, are hosting the conference. Professor McCormack explained: “We are very proud to be holding such a prestigious and dynamic healthcare conference at QMU, as this event is one which can help shape the future of our healthcare profession in the UK and internationally.

Professor Dewing added: “The Enhancing Practice Conference 2016 will allow us to   explore the wisdom that is inherent in good practice development. By doing so, we can articulate the expertise needed to connect with person-centred cultures at an authentic level. In addition, it allows us to give voice to the creative engagement of practice developers in unearthing the deep layers of person-centred practice.”

The conference is primarily aimed at nursing practitioners and leaders, but will also be attractive to those connected with healthcare who are involved in improving practice and its development.

Both Professor McCormack and Dewing  have 25 years specialist experience each  in the nursing of older people and are considered internationally-renowned authorities on person-centred nursing and practice development. In 2015, both were recognised as an ‘Inspirational Nursing Leader’ by The Nursing Times(UK nursing journal). Professor McCormack is a fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, was honoured in the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) 2014 International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame awards, and is listed in the Thomson Reuters 3000 most influential researchers globally. Professor Dewing is the editor for the International Journal of Practice Development, the on line journal of the International Practice Development Collaborative.

Aside from being offered unprecedented networking opportunities and the opportunity to learn from international leaders in person-centred nursing, social change, community development, quality improvement and practice development,  delegates can expect a fun filled quirky event that pays tribute to its Scottish location. Clan gatherings, a film night, a ceilidh and the best of Scottish food will be woven throughout the three day learning event.

Enhancing Practice Conference 2016, ‘ Unearthing the Architecture of Practice Patterns: practice development and the co-construction of healthful workplaces’ will take place from 30 August (pre conference workshop) – 2nd September 2015 at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland. For registration and conference details visit:

One year of free school meals

Pupils, families and schools continuing to benefit.

Primary schools across Scotland will continue serving up free school meals for all Primary 1-3 pupils in 2016, after a successful first year of implementation.

The Scottish Government is providing an additional £53.9 million to enable local councils to continue to deliver this commitment.

Following its launch by the First Minster in January 2015, the number of pupils registered for a free school meal has more than doubled to over 259,000, which includes an estimated 135,000 pupils in P1-3.

An official survey earlier this year found that approximately 80 per cent of P1-3 pupils took a free meal, potentially saving the families of every eligible child £380 a year.

Visiting Musselburgh Burgh Primary School in East Lothian today, Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, said:

“I am very proud that free school meals are now an established part of the school day for our youngest primary school pupils. School lunches are hugely important in supporting a pupil’s ability to learn.

“In the 12 months since we took this action, there has been a very positive take up across Scotland and we will continue to work with education authorities, schools and teachers to ensure continued promotion of their uptake. In every community across Scotland, schools, families and pupils are reaping the benefits.

“The introduction of free school meals is just one aspect of this Government’s work to tackle the scourge of child poverty in Scotland. Tackling inequalities is at the heart of our Programme for Government and as well as free school meals, we are investing £296 million over three years to protect people from UK Government’s welfare cuts and austerity agenda which are increasing the numbers of children living in poverty.

“Our action is helping to ensure that every child in Scotland gets the best possible start in life.”

John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

“The introduction of universal free school meals in P1-3 has been a hugely welcome support for hard pressed families across Scotland.

“It has removed any hassle and stigma associated with means-testing children in the early years of primary and led to increased take up of healthy lunches amongst the most disadvantaged pupils, even where they were already entitled to a free meal.

“It has also ensured children in low income working families benefit from a healthy meal during the school day. As well as providing vital immediate relief to family finances, free healthy school lunches will have a long term impact on children’s education and health.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, East Lothian Council Education and Children’s Wellbeing spokesperson, said:

“Initially the uptake of free school meals from P1 to P3 was low and we’ve been working closely with the pupils, catering and school staff to promote and increase the uptake.

“The introduction of taster sessions during Health Week and the inclusion of healthy eating linked into the curriculum really helped.

“This fits in very well with the East Lothian Council’s commitment to our Active Schools programme, which encourages pupils to adopt active and healthy lifestyles.”

East Lothian New Year Honours

The honours system recognises people who have made achievements in public life and/or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.  Whether someone gets an honour – and the honour they get – is decided by an honours committee. The committee’s decisions go to the Prime Minister and then to the Queen, who awards the honour.  The following East Lothian people were recipients of New Year honours:

Member of the Order of the British Empire

Diane Elaine Watt. For services to children’s hearing. (Dunbar, East Lothian)

Laura Naomi Young. Co-Founder, Teapot Trust. For services to chronically ill children in Scotland. (East Lothian)

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Christine McDiarmid Black. Badminton development officer, East Lothian Council. For services to badminton in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

Richard Hadden. Beadle, St Michael’s Church, Inveresk. For services to the community in East Lothian. (Musselburgh, East Lothian)

Lynda Jeffrey. Founder, Stenton Singers Choir. For services to music and charity in Stenton, East Lothian.

Christian Evelyn Lindsay. For services to the community in East Linton, East Lothian. (Haddington, East Lothian)


Gardens open in East Lothian

Scotland’s Gardens, a registered charity, was created in 1931 in order to facilitate the opening of private gardens to the public as a means of raising money to support the training and pensions of the Queen’s Nurses, generally known as District Nurses. Four years earlier The National Gardens Scheme had been founded in England for the same purpose.

East Lothian gardens that are open to the public on specific dates include several in Athelstaneford Village, Dirleton Village, Gifford Village, Greywalls, Humbie Dean, Inveresk Lodge Garden, Inveresk Village, Newhailes, Shepherd House, Stenton Village, Traprain Garden Circle, Tyninghame House and Winton House.  A full listing can be seen here.

The garden pictured is Garvald Grange, one the gardens included in the Traprain Garden Circle.

The 2016 Guidebook can be purchased on the Scotland’s Gardens website can be purchased for £7 including p&p.

More info:

Plans submitted for £2m Prestonpans Health Centre extension

Final proposals for a £2million extension and refurbishment of Prestonpans Health Centre have been submitted to East Lothian Council for approval.

The plans, which were put to the Council earlier this month, will see the building increase in size and will provide purpose-built spaces for patients and staff.

As well as reconfiguring the current health centre, the extension will include three new treatment rooms, a community consulting room and two larger health care assistant rooms.

A decision on the proposals is expected at the beginning of next year and, if approved, work will start on site in Spring and will be completed in Winter 2016.

panssurgeryCW-gX_vWQAAhcpn.jpg:largeDavid Small, Chief Officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We are excited about having reached this important stage in the planning process.

“These developments will bring a wide range of benefits to patients and staff, increasing accessibility for the disabled and elderly and providing a modern and more effective health centre for the people of Prestonpans.”

The practice is awaiting final approval for registration as a GP training practice, and Dr Zain Kapasi, GP, Prestonpans Health Centre, said: “We are eagerly anticipating a decision on these proposals and are very hopeful that they will be accepted.

“These proposals will allow the practice to accommodate and train junior GPs to become fully qualified. The hope is that in 2016 we’ll be allocated a new GP in training. This will allow the introduction of a new cohort of young doctors each year.

“Being able to provide GP training will be a big benefit for all staff and patients.”

The project is being delivered by NHS Lothian’s development partner Hub South East Scotland Ltd, and its appointed contractor, GRAHAM Construction.

Paul McGirk, Chief Executive, Hub South East Scotland Ltd, said: “I’m delighted to see the progress being made on this project, which will make a real difference to the local community in Prestonpans.

“We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with NHS Lothian and working with our contractor GRAHAM Construction to make these plans a reality.

Counter Terrorism Advice

Attacks in the UK and abroad remind us all of the terrorist threat we face, which in the UK is considered as ‘SEVERE’, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

The National Counter Terrorism policing has provided advice to the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack in this Run Hide Tell document. (Click on the link to open pdf).

Stay Safe Film

The film advises those who get caught up in an incident to ‘run, hide and tell’ – guidance which can be applied to any place. We know that from case studies and real life testimony based on the experiences of people who have survived attacks the advice given in the film has saved lives.The intention of the film is not to unnecessarily scare the public but to ensure that they know what steps to take in the unlikely event of being involved in a firearms or weapons attack. It is only responsible that the police issue this public safety guidance as they would do with any other personal safety issue.

The public are urged to be alert but not alarmed by the threat, and reassure them that the police service carries out daily activities to help maintain the protection and security of our citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places, including those who are potential terrorist targets.

Our security measures and activities are constantly reviewed to reflect where the threats exist and the level of threat we are facing.

The level of threat is complex and ranges from lone actors intent on carrying out crude and violent attacks to sophisticated networks pursuing ambitious and coordinated plots – as we saw starkly demonstrated in France and other parts of the world.

This increased level of activity is matched by increased action by the police and security services, who are working on hundreds of active investigations and making an arrest a day.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, speaking on behalf of National Counter Terrorism policing said:

The police service is working tirelessly to confront the terrorist threat we all face. To do this we need the help of the public. We need them to be alert,but not alarmed. We need them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency dial 999.

We are releasing this film which we hope will provide practical steps to take in the extremely rare event of a terrorist attack.

Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we must maintain the strong relationship between the public and police. We depend on information from the public, who can be our eyes and ears, in our efforts to keep us all safe. We must also give information to the public to help them stay safe.

Festive information

Join In!

For a variety of reasons, the festive period can be a difficult time for some.  If you won’t be having the Christmas Day you wish you were having, follow the #joinin conversation on Twitter.  There will be loads of people taking part in a a virtual Christmas Day.  You are never alone with Twitter.

Useful Numbers

As much as we love Twitter, it shouldn’t be used as a reporting tool in emergencies.  We’ve put together a list of phone numbers for a variety of organisations.  Why not put these numbers in your phone now, before you need them?

And while we’re on the subject…have you added your ICE (In Case of Emergency) number to your phone’s lock screen (emergency services cannot unlock your phone)?



(don’t use Twitter to report emergencies!)



Free helpline is available round the clock or email:


116 123


Advice & out of hours medical help




If you are under 18 and worried about something, they can help

0800 1111

The Silverline

Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year


0800 4 708090


confidential advice for farming and other land-based communities

0300 111 4166

Edinburgh SafeZone Bus

Support, first aid and help to get home safely from the bus based at Cathedral Lane, opposite the Omni Centre, Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm until 4am


07920 70 65 68

British Transport Police

Text BTP on 61016, call 0800 40 50 40, or 999 in an emergency


0800 40 50 40

Domestic Abuse helpline

A service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf

0800 027 1234

SP Networks (Electrical Distributor)

For power loss or emergencies call 24hrs


0800 092 9290

 Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Final Blowdown at Cockenzie Power Station

The final controlled explosive demolition at Cockenzie Power Station has been planned for Thursday 17th December at 2pm, which will see the removal of the remaining boiler house structure.

Nearly two-years to the day since the first explosive blowdown (11th Dec 2013) , Brown and Mason will oversee their thirteenth and final event.

The remaining section of the boiler house stands 220m in length, 60m in height, 30m in width, and is predominantly made of steel.

Sections of both Edinburgh Road and the John Muir Way in the immediate vicinity of the station will be closed from 1pm, reopening as quickly as possible after the demoliotion. A section of the Greenhills will be open to members of the public wishing to view the demolition.

ScottishPower project manager George Camps, said: “Careful planning has ensured that the demolition work so far has been very successful, and we fully intend to carry out this final blowdown in the same manner.

“This will be the last of the main structures to be removed at Cockenzie, and we would like to thank the local residents and community groups for their patience and co-operation as work has progressed.

“The project will continue at Cockenzie for at least the next 6 months‎, as we clear the materials from the site and remove the old office and other ancillary buildings. We will ensure that local communities are kept fully up-to-date.”

Haddington Farmers’ Market: Saturday 19 December, 2015

goody-bag-lootHaddington Farmers’ Market is always special. Offering more than just the best of the season’s produce, Haddington Farmers’ Market is an atmospheric alternative to crowded shops during one of the busiest and most hectic times for shopping in the year. Oozing character, its stalls festooned with seasonal decorations as shoppers enjoy the great variety of home grown produce, friendly atmosphere and first class customer care. Where else could you speak with the producer who knows his produce inside out and who is more than happy to offer you advice and tips on the best cooking methods?

grottowebExtra care and attention is always afforded to HFM customers – twelve months a year – but this December excitement is mounting as HFM prepare for an early visitor. On Saturday 19 December, Santa and his golden grotto Lothian Bus will make a special visit. Not only will his little helpers will be singing Christmas Carols, Santa has promised there will be a goody bag for each child who would like to say hello.

Haddington Pipe Band will be playing a selection of traditional tunes, mulled wine and hot spiced apple juice, plus a range of mouth watering tasters will be available. There is also an opportunity to win a HFM hamper – packed full of delicious local produce.

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to soak up the magic than at a local Christmas market? Christmas shopping is never a chore at the market thanks to the huge array of speciality stalls offering unique present ideas and you can create your very own bespoke HFM hamper for your food loving friends.

Worried about parking? Santa’s golden grotto bus isn’t taking up all the room. There is loads of free parking behind Court Street and the market is next to bus stops to and from Edinburgh and the rest of East Lothian. The market town of Haddington offers some lovely cafes and restaurants, as well as a range of individual shops which are well worth exploring (see a list here).

Christmas is a very special time of year. Make your Christmas even more special with produce from Haddington Farmers’ Market and a visit to Santa.

Come the festive season, there’s nothing better than a spiced, warming glass of this mulled wine. Try this mulled apple juice, which the kids will love.

1ltr Laprig apple juice

strips of orange peel

1 cinnamon stick, plus extra to garnish, if you like

3 cloves

sugar or honey, to taste

Simmer the apple juice with the strips of orange peel, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 5-10 mins until all the flavours have infused. Sweeten to taste.

Serve each drink with a little orange peel and a piece of cinnamon stick, if you like.