Shetland Health Board chairwoman Betty Fullerton made an “oustanding personal contribution” to improving health care in the isles during her eight-year tenure, according to her replacement Ian Kinniburgh.
Mrs Fullerton stood down from the post on Friday when a reception was held for her at the Gilbert Bain Hospital. Mr Kinniburgh, board vice-chairman for the last four years, starts work on Monday.
Mr Kinniburgh said: “It is entirely appropriate that we take this opportunity to recognise the outstanding personal contribution Betty has made to the development and improvement of the health service in Shetland over the past eight years.
“She will certainly be a hard act to follow and, on behalf of the board and staff of NHS Shetland, I would like to thank her and wish her and her family well for the future.”
In her time as chairwoman, Mrs Fullerton has presided over a number of significant changes, including the development of the Community Health and Care Partnership, the capital programme which is still ongoing at the Gilbert Bain Hospital and the new Out of Hours arrangements for primary care provision.
She has also championed a number of major health promotion projects such as smoking cessation and the Drink Better campaign aimed at bringing about a culture shift on alcohol consumption in Shetland.
Mrs Fullerton said: “It has been a privilege to serve Shetland as NHS chairman. The past eight years have brought many challenges, some disappointments and great satisfaction in many ways.
“I am confident that the NHS in Shetland equals and surpasses the service delivered elsewhere in Scotland. This is the result of the hard work of all staff, service contractors and the board who work together for the people of Shetland.
“I wish Ian well as new chairman and although the job brings great responsibility, he has the experience and knowledge to be able to guide the board with confidence over the coming years which will bring its own challenge.”