Leuchie and QMU join forces to achieve Scotland’s vision for integrated health & social care

Leuchie House and Queen Margaret University (QMU) are celebrating a new partnership which aims to create a highly skilled health and social care workforce.

The collaboration will open up opportunities for new research, student placements and the creation of a workforce which truly places patients at the centre of healthcare delivery. QMU and Leuchie believe that by working together they are better equipped to develop a generation of integrated health and social care professionals who can contribute to the Government’s 2020 Vision of effectively integrating health and social care services. There is little doubt that the development of integrated and streamlined services for people with long-term conditions is a high priority agenda in Scotland and internationally. 

Over the last five years, Leuchie House has developed a reputation for excellence in respite care. With a focus on being a learning organisation it made sense for the North Berwick based centre to link with QMU.  Initially, Leuchie provided placements for QMU’s physiotherapy students. The placements have now become an important part of Leuchie’s in-house physio service and the partnership has grown to encompass a wide range of different specialisms - from healthcare to film and media.

Together, the organisations can create opportunities for healthcare students to develop their experience in clinical settings, with Leuchie potentially benefitting from QMU’s healthcare specialism including physiotherapy, nursing, art therapy and music therapy. But possibilities reach beyond healthcare with the chance to utilise students’ talents in events, hospitality and tourism to bolster Leuchie’s ‘country hotel’ style experience.

Dr Fiona Coutts, Dean of Healthcare at Queen Margaret University, said: “Our formal partnership aims to maximise a full range of possibilities across QMU’s specialisms in healthcare, hospitality, creative industries and social sciences.

“Students can gain exceptional opportunities to put theory into practice by gaining important practical and clinical experience, some of which they would not get anywhere else. We are also keen to use our research capabilities through our Centre for Person-Centred Practice to benefit Leuchie House and its service users. Many of these joint working opportunities are of mutual benefit and there is no doubt that our partnership will lend itself well to impactful knowledge exchange.”

“Both organisations are ambitious in our joint vision. By pooling resources and expertise we believe our programme, which fits directly with national developments, can play a part in helping Scotland achieve its vision for an integrated health and social care workforce. Leuchie House offers a very special experience for its guests and QMU is delighted to be part of that experience.”

Mairi O’Keefe, CEO of Leuchie House, said: “This new partnership offers a host of opportunities to share learning and practice.  Based on a mutual commitment to social justice, equality, innovation and enterprise, it opens up an extensive and varied programme of joint activity. It positively contributes to key Scottish developments in integrated health and social care, anticipatory care, and person-centred care, and will have a direct impact on ensuring Scotland’s new generations of nurses and allied health professionals will enter the workforce imbued with the principles and practical applications of delivering an integrated service.

“It provides a direct fit with Leuchie’s vision to be the leading centre of excellence in transforming lives through respect and compassionate care, and we are excited to see the results it will bring.”

The partnership between Queen Margaret University and Leuchie House was marked with a reception at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 22 March, with a speech from Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP. The event was sponsored by Iain Gray MSP who described Leuchie as "one of the most life affirming projects I've had the pleasure of being involved in".