Dr Henry Simmons

HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF SCIENCE

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Henry is chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland − Action on Dementia (AS).

He initially trained as a mental health nurse before retraining and qualifying as a social worker in 1998. During his 10 years with third-sector organisation Enable Scotland, as both development manager and executive director, an annual turnover of £4million grew to £25million and staff numbers increased from 1000 to 3000. Henry next undertook an MBA programme at GCU and endorses its focus on an understanding of the third sector. He also credits the GCU programme as enabling him to undertake the role of chief executive at AS in 2008.

Here he introduced the rights of choice, power, control and inclusion as the driving values of the charity’s work. Henry and his team have campaigned diligently for people with dementia and their carers, including the development of new models of care and support, as well as changing public perception of the illness. Henry has built AS into an organisation with 1000 staff, 8000 members, 35,000 followers on social media, and 22,000 ‘dementia friends’ who support the organisation.

Working closely with the Scottish Government, Henry has made a significant contribution to the development of the National Dementia Strategy. He successfully presented the case to the Deputy First Minister at the time, Nicola Sturgeon, to make a world-first commitment and guarantee that every person with dementia will receive a minimum of one year’s post-diagnostic support. Under Henry’s guidance, AS has opened numerous new Resource Centres, established a Dementia Advisor and a Dementia Nurse Consultant network throughout Scotland. AS also invests in research for better care today and a cure for tomorrow. Henry is a general member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland and is also chair of the NHS NES/SSSC Dementia Programme Board. He is also a member of the Fair Work Convention.

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