A COMMUNITY nurse who has been working with Scottish agricultural charity, RSABI, on the delivery of its pioneering Health Hut initiative has been selected for the prestigious Queen’s Nurse Award.

Irene Scott, who is based at Inverkeithing Medical Group, started working with RSABI at the Royal Highland Show last summer and has played a key role in the delivery of the Health Hut initiative as it has developed over the past year.

She has been working with RSABI to take hundreds of farmers’ blood pressures at agricultural events, as well as offering health and wellbeing advice to people of all ages in Scottish agriculture.

An auction mart programme is currently being delivered on a pilot basis working in partnership with ANM Group, with farmers being offered free ‘wellbeing MOTs’ on busy sale days at the Thainstone Centre near Inverurie.

As well as blood pressure testing, the Health Hut at Thainstone has been offering cholesterol tests, early diabetes detection and advice on a wide range of physical and mental wellbeing areas – from alcohol consumption to nutrition and exercise.

RSABI is delighted that Irene has been recognised as a Queen’s Nurse, which is awarded by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) in recognition of high levels of commitment to patient care and nursing practice.

Dating back to the 1880s, Queen’s Nurses were social reformers who took public health into people’s homes to help families take better care of themselves.

Modern Queen’s Nurses are building on this proud heritage – using their pioneering spirit to improve the health and wellbeing of communities in Scotland.

A practice nurse from a family farm in Fife, Irene is well aware of the challenges faced by farmers, often living in remote locations with long working hours very often on their own. Too often farmers delay visiting a health professional and the Health Hut offers them the opportunity to have a general health check and confidentially discuss any concerns they may have.

Many farmers, spurred on by Health Hut feedback from Irene and the RSABI team, have taken advice to make a follow-up appointment with a GP or other professional, or made changes to their lifestyle to improve their health.

“To be selected for the Queen’s Nurse Award is a real honour, especially when QNIS only offer this programme to a small number of health professionals, from all areas of community nursing across Scotland, each year,” said Irene.

“My work with RSABI’s Health Hut encompasses all the values outlined in the Queen’s Nurse programme and I am looking forward to being part of the future development of the Health Hut in Scotland.”

Chair of RSABI, Jimmy McLean, extended the charity’s warmest congratulations and thanks to Irene. “Irene has been an integral part of our Health Hut initiative, and it is wonderful to see her being recognised as a Queen’s Nurse,” he said. “With Irene’s professionalism and love of farming, RSABI have had an excellent response to the Health Hut project and we are looking forward to taking the project forward and looking at rolling it out around the country.”

Irene will be back in action on February 28 when RSABI will be offering farmers attending the Royal Northern Agricultural Society Spring Show, held at Thainstone, the opportunity to have a free health MOT at the Health Hut in the main concourse.

Attendees will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked on the day, as well as a test for early detection of diabetes. Encouraging show-goers to think more about their wellbeing, there will also be an opportunity for those attending to confidentially discuss any mental or physical health concerns they might have.

Chief executive of ANM Group, Grant Rogerson, said: “It is fantastic that Irene has been recognised as a Queen’s Nurse through the delivery of the RSABI Health Hut in partnership with ANM Group – it is thoroughly well-deserved and huge congratulations to Irene from everyone at ANM.

“The initiative, through Irene’s passion, caring, knowledge and skill, offers great support to individual farmers, and we have been delighted with its success at Thainstone Centre. We encourage all visitors attending the Spring Show to make the most of the Health Hut at the event.”

RSABI offers free practical, financial, and emotional support including counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry. Its free confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling 0808 123 4555 (calls won’t show up on phone bills) or through a confidential webchat service, available on RSABI’s website.

You can find further information on the RSABI website www.rsabi.org.uk.