Highlands & Islands

NHS Highland appoints new chief executive

Iain Stewart Image copyright NHS Highland
Image caption Iain Stewart was worked in the public sector for more than 30 years

NHS Highland has appointed a new chief executive.

Iain Stewart will take over the role from Elaine Mead, who was appointed the health board's chief executive in 2011 and left in December last year.

Originally from Stornoway in Lewis, Mr Stewart has worked in the public sector for more than 30 years including within the NHS in England and Wales.

His appointment comes amid an independent review into allegations of a "bullying culture" at NHS Highland.

The health board is also dealing with a projected deficit of £19.9m for 2018-19.

NHS Highland covers the Highlands and Argyll and Bute.

Dr Gregor Smith, the deputy chief medical officer for Scotland, will be NHS Highland's interim chief executive until Mr Stewart's arrival later this year.

'Critical leadership role'

Mr Stewart said he was looking forward to taking up his new role.

He said: "I have provided senior operational and transformational leadership to various NHS organisations, managing multiple acute hospitals, mental health, community and strategic commissioning throughout England and North Wales.

"It is now time for me to consolidate these experiences and, together, I believe we can continue to build a world class health and social care service for the north of Scotland."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has welcomed Mr Stewart's appointment.

She said: "He has important experience in the public sector, including the health service, and I wish him well in this critical leadership role.

"The priority, as always across NHS Scotland, is patient care, and I am confident that under Iain Stewart's leadership, people across the Highlands will receive the excellent level of service they deserve."

NHS Highland chairman David Alston said: "I am delighted that Iain has accepted this appointment. He brings a passion for the NHS and for improvement, and a personal commitment to the Highlands and its people."

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