NHS Forth Valley Nurse Receives OBE for Services to Learning Disability

Allison Ramsay, NHS Forth Valley’s former lead nurse for Learning Disability ServicesAllison Ramsay, NHS Forth Valley’s former lead nurse for Learning Disability Services, has been awarded an OBE for services to learning disability nursing in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Allison, who retired earlier this year, was overwhelmed when she heard about the award but was keen to point out that she saw it as recognition not only to her work to improve care for people with learning disabilities, but also to the many people who have worked with her and supported her during her 38 year career as a nurse.

Allison said; “Initially, I was stunned to receive the letter advising that I had been nominated for such a prestigious award. It has been nerve wracking waiting for the awards to be published and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages of support and congratulations.

“I view the award as a shared achievement with the Learning Disability nursing staff across NHS Forth Valley. I have the greatest respect for local staff and the high standard of care they deliver in such a caring and compassionate way.”

Allison joined NHS Forth Valley in May 1979 as a nursing assistant, intending to work only for the summer months. However she enjoyed working with people with learning disabilities and was encouraged by other qualified nurses to undertake nursing as a career.

She qualified in May 1983 and over the next 10 years had various posts at the former Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert and in community learning disability services before taking on a combined clinical and management role in 1994. During the next few years the focus for people with learning disabilities was to help them return live as independently as possible in community settings and a hospital closure plan was put in place across the country.

Appointed NHS Forth Valley’s Lead Nurse, for Learning Disabilities in 2001, Allison focused on developing enhanced learning disability services in the community and creating Loch View, a new assessment and treatment facility close to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Services in Forth Valley for people with learning disabilities have continued to develop since then, in particular health and social care services have become more integrated with NHS and council community learning disability teams working closer together to improve care for patients, their families and carers as well as the staff who work in the service.

Like many nurses, Allison started training when she was still a teenager, and she hopes that this award may help to raise the profile of Learning Disability nursing and encourage young people to think about this as a future career. She would also encourage nurses working in other areas to consider retraining in Learning Disabilities as she says is a very rewarding, fulfilling and varied area to work in.

She said: “I have had a great career in NHS Forth Valley and I am so appreciative of the support I have had from friends and colleagues over the last four decades.”