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Revealed: Driving force behind a lifetime’s labour of love

Published: Thursday, 22 February 2024

Revealed: Driving force behind a lifetime’s labour of love

Professor Soumen Sengupta, Megan Watt, Debra Allison and Councillor Kirsty Williams.

The collective dedication driving care services in South Lanarkshire has been brought into sharp focus - via a remarkable individual accolade. And Debra Allison, unit manager with South Lanarkshire University Health and Social Care Partnership, has dedicated the recognition to the ‘exemplary’ colleagues she works with.

Debra, who was recently honoured with an outstanding lifetime contribution award from The Scottish Social Services Council, said she has been humbled by the award.

“Caring for people is a profound honour and privilege,” Debra, who currently works in David Walker Gardens care home, said. “I’ve looked after many people over the years whose families entrusted their loved ones to our care. That trust is precious and I’ve always strived to honour that, treating people with dignity and respect every single day. But I couldn’t have done any of this work without my colleagues – in this profession being part of a team is absolutely everything.

“I want to dedicate this recognition to all those the loyal, stoic, and compassionate colleagues I’ve had the privilege of serving beside over the years, and all those committed to delivering exceptional health and care support across our communities.”

Beginning her career at 17, Debra has progressed through the ranks over four decades. “My husband is my rock, and my children have grown up knowing why Mum needs to go to work,” she added.

Councillor Kirsty Williams, Deputy Chair of South Lanarkshire Council Social Work Committee, said “Debra’s approach to her service users and the leadership she demonstrates shows how our health and social care staff are continuing to deliver person centred care in the face of the unprecedented challenges facing local services.

“The gentle rapport Debra has with the individuals under her care and their families, and the supportive bond she has with fellow staff, is plain to see.

“This recognition is testament to the high regard she’s held in and is clearly well-deserved.”

Professor Soumen Sengupta, Director of Health and Social Care for South Lanarkshire, added “I know that Debra has been a rock for many of her colleagues, particularly through the pandemic, and a role model for many of those choosing to join social care. “Debra's personal commitment to compassionate care, innovation and teamwork provides yet another example of the vital contribution that those who work in social care make within local communities.“

Tribute from a colleague:

Megan Watt, Enhanced Senior Social Care Worker at David Walker Gardens, nominated Debra for the recognition. Megan said: “Debra has, year after year, supported service users to live their lives to their full potential and make their time in our care the best it possibly can be. “In turn, she has supported hundreds of families to feel comfortable that their loved one is safe, secure, and happy. “Debra has embraced the many changes of our evolving service and continues to motivate the workforce.“She's very ambitious – not only for herself – but for her team!"

Megan added: “One of my colleagues said of Debra, ‘She’s the most loyal, caring, and compassionate person that I know.’“I, for one, second that. And I’m sure countless others would too.”