It was wonderful news to see Elaine Hunter, Alzheimer Scotland’s National Allied Health Professions (AHP) Consultant, being recognised recently with a Royal College of Occupational Therapist Fellowship. This prestigious fellowship, one of four awarded amongst 34,000 Occupational Therapists in the UK, follows a career spanning over 35 years in Occupational Therapy and Allied Health Professions. Over many years, Elaine has shaped the lives of thousands of people accessing an Allied Health Professional. She has achieved this through her tireless work in ensuring that Occupational Therapy and latterly Allied Health Professionals are at the forefront of policy and practice in Scotland’s health and social care.

Her contribution to Occupational Therapy at a high policy and strategic level has gained national and international recognition. She has successfully developed an important strategic action plan for Occupational Therapists and AHPs in Scotland, both in mental health and specifically in dementia. This major step for Occupational Therapists has been done in partnership with AHPs, people who use services, Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the AHP Professional bodies. Through this approach, which has ensured ownership in both policy design and implementation, she has supported the transformation of occupational therapy services.

Elaine has also consistently sought to develop the next generation of Occupational Therapists including playing a key role in curriculum initiatives in Occupational Therapy education. She provides innovative placement opportunities and was also an honorary occupational therapy lecturer at Queen Margaret University. She has spearheaded the creation of innovative practice education within Alzheimer Scotland, including AHP internship opportunities.

On her Fellowship, Elaine said: “It’s a privilege and honour to have been nominated by my peers for this prestigious fellowship from the Royal College of Occupational Therapy. Although the fellowship is being awarded to me, it’s important for me to acknowledge that my work is a “team effort” and I would want to thank all the amazing people who support me every day to make a real difference for people living with dementia and their families”.

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive said: “Elaine has exceptional leadership skills, vision and commitment to transform the Allied Health Professionals contribution to dementia care in Scotland, culminating in Connecting People Connecting Support where she set out a vision for people living with dementia to have better access to occupational therapists and AHPs regardless of age, place or residence, at all stages of their dementia. Elaine is leading at a high policy and strategic level which also impacts positively on local practice and within our Alzheimer Scotland localities. She consistently works collaboratively with an AHP team from across Scotland to drive the required transformation that interfaces with health and social care, local services and 3rd sector. I am delighted that Elaine’s forward-thinking attitude, hard work and dedication has been recognised with this Fellowship.”