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Mental health nurse joins Scottish government as minister

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Clare Haughey, a former mental health nurse, has been nominated to become a health minister as part of a major shake-up of the Scottish government.

Ms Haughey, who was elected in 2016 as the Scottish National Party’s representative for Rutherglen, will take on the role of minister for mental health in the government’s revamped health team.

“Clare Haughey brings her extensive background as a mental health nurse”

Nicola Sturgeon

As a mental health nurse, she specialised in working with mothers who were pregnant or had a baby under one. She still retains an honorary nursing position.

She is one of nine new ministers appointed to the Scottish government, subject to parliamentary approval.

Also among the nine is Joe Fitzpatrick, SNP representative for Dundee City West, who is to become minister for public health, sport and wellbeing.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “wide-ranging refresh of her ministerial team” would bring in “frontline experience in a number of key areas, such as health and education, into government”.

On Tuesday, Shona Robison resigned as health secretary and will be replaced in the role by Jeane Freeman, the MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley who was previously social security minister.

Scottish National Party

Clare Haughey

Clare Haughey

Ms Robison has been in the post since 2014. However, she has faced criticism over NHS performance in Scotland, most recently cancer waiting times. In her resignation letter, she also cited a “particularly challenging” year in her personal life.

Commenting on the new appointments, Ms Sturgeon said: “The new ministers I am announcing today bring a range of fresh talent to the Scottish government.

“The ministerial team represents constituencies the length and breadth of Scotland, coming with a range of professional backgrounds and bringing a breadth of real life experience to their roles,” she said.

“For instance, Clare Haughey brings her extensive background as a mental health nurse to the mental health portfolio,” she said.

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