Western Isles NHS Board, staff, and the wider community were saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Neil Galbraith OBE, Chairman of the NHS Western Isles Board, on Saturday, November 17th, aged 78 years.
Dr Galbraith was appointed Chair of NHSWI by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in January 2011, with his post extended to serve a second term in January 2015.
As Chair, Dr Galbraith successfully steered the island board forward in improving the health and wellbeing in the Western Isles, improving patient experience and safety and steadily modernising our services through redesign, innovation and technology.
Within his NHS career, Dr Galbraith also served as Chair of the NHS Scotland Chairs’ Group (January 2015- May 2017), reflecting the collective views of the Group to government Ministers; and as Chair of the NHS North of Scotland Planning Group, co-ordinating the interests of six island and mainland NHS boards.
He served both at a local and national level within the Scottish Health Council, where patient focus and public involvement of the health services was his primary consideration.
Dr Galbraith held degrees in Psychology and History and was an accredited coach/mentor working in Health, Education and Local Government.
He served for twenty years as Director of Education with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, until seconded to the Acting Chief Executive’s post in May 1999, where he remained until September 2000.
Dr Galbraith also served as Chairman of the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, was a former President of the Association of Directors of Education, served on the Board of Governors of the Northern College of Education, and held the position of Honorary Sheriff.
In 1995, Dr Galbraith was awarded an OBE for services to education in the Western Isles. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Open University.
Born and brought up in Govan, Glasgow, Dr Galbraith also worked at governmental level overseas in Russia, Montenegro and Albania.
Staff and colleagues at NHSWI wish to extend their sincere condolences to Neil’s wife Isabelle, and family, Robert, Caroline, and Sandra at this very sad time.
Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles, Gordon Jamieson, said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened by Neil’s passing, and my thoughts are with his family.
“I worked so closely with Neil on all our challenges, future plans and aspirations. He brought knowledge, wisdom, experience and integrity to all we did, and I couldn’t have respected him more.
“I know Neil would want us to carry on and deliver on all those important things we started.”
The Funeral Service for Dr Galbraith will take place on Tuesday, November 20th, at 11.30am at the Free Church Seminary, Francis Street, Stornoway.
A Wake will be held tonight (Monday, November 19th) at the Free Church Seminary, Francis Street, Stornoway, at 9pm.