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Former Home Secretary Praises 'Phenomenal' Advances at University

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The former Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has praised the ‘phenomenal’ changes that have taken place at the University of Worcester in recent years, and has talked in glowing terms about the facilities offered by the Institute of Health and Society.

Ms Smith, who is originally from Malvern and studied at what was then known as the Worcester College of Higher Education in the late 1980s and was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2005, visited the University earlier this month.

She met with the Vice Chancellor, Professor David Green, and the Head of the Institute of Health and Society, Dr Jan Quallington, as well as touring facilities such as The Hive, The University of Worcester Arena and the recently developed Clinical Simulation Centre, designed to provide exceptional simulation-based education opportunities for students, staff and clinical practitioners.

Ms Smith, who is Chair of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Facilities like this give the likes of nursing, paramedic and physiotherapy students the opportunity to try things out, to make mistakes and to really think about and develop the way that they interact with patients.

“The bottom line is, this produces professionals who are much better prepared, and ensures patients receive better quality care, which is what we’re all striving for.”

Ms Smith, who served as Home Secretary for almost two years in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet, was also shown around the University’s numerous other recent developments.

She added: “I was a student here between 1986 and 1987 – my time as a student here was great, and I have really enjoyed coming back here. There have been some phenomenal changes.

“The Hive and the University Arena are both magnificent buildings. It’s wonderful that people from within the community have the opportunity to take their kids to read a book at The Hive, or to benefit from the same research or librarian expertise as the students.

“It’s a terrific partnership with the County Council and it brings that expertise more widely to people; it’s a brilliant facility.”

“Likewise, the University Arena; to be a national hub for sport, and disability sport in particular, is great. It’s vital that these facilities are used to develop coaches and to show people that it is possible to have something splendid which is fully inclusive, and can benefit people with and without disabilities.

“The new developments really show what can be achieved when you have leadership interested in creating opportunities for students and for research.”