A RENFREWSHIRE home for veterans started the New Year with a bang after being recognised for its 'essential' support. 

Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, paid a visit to Erskine Park Home in Bishopton and praised the hardworking staff for their efforts.

Ms Freeman was welcomed by Erskine Director of Care Derek Barron and Erskine Park Home Manager Lesley Wylie before being given a tour of the home which cares for 40 residents, all of whom are living with dementia.

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Ms Freeman said: "It’s important that we recognise the essential support nurses working in Care Homes provide for the people of Scotland. I am pleased to see the innovative ways in which Erskine supports staff and residents to achieve the best possible outcomes.

"There are many areas where advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) are currently contributing effectively to improving care for patients across Scotland.  We want to build on this and that’s why we are investing £3m to train more ANPs by 2021 to ensure better outcomes for patients.

"This will ensure that all people living in Scotland, including those people in the Armed Forces and veterans, can continue to access the best possible safe, effective and person-centred care and support."

Derek Barron said: "We were delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to Erskine Park Home.  At this time of year there is a great deal of publicity around the contribution of our NHS colleagues, for Ms Freeman to take the time out to meet with our staff and residents recognises the significant importance the care sector plays across Scotland. 

"The Cabinet Secretary noted the approach we have adopted in developing advanced nurse practitioner and trainee advanced nurse practitioner roles in a care home setting.

"Ms Freeman also spoke knowledgeably of the contribution that care staff make to the wellbeing of residents, not just here, but in Care Homes across the country."

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Erskine cares for 339 veterans and their spouses within four care homes in Scotland - two in Bishopton, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. 

The charity also has 44 cottages for veterans and their families, five assisted living apartments and building work is currently underway of 24 single living apartments for veterans of working age in the Veterans' Village in Bishopton.