NHS Western Isles has confirmed that Tim Ingram, vice chair of the Western Isles Health Board, has resigned from the board.
His departure follows increasing concern at the lack of local representation on the board and the resignation of the Comhairle’s board representative, Mr Angus McCormack, last month.
Announcing Mr Tim Ingram’s resignation, NHS Western Isles said he had chosen to resign due to the “personal and relentless negative campaign” directed towards him, particularly since his appointment as vice chair.
The NHS statement continued: “This ongoing crusade has had a very negative impact on Tim personally. Tim didn’t want to become a distraction from the essential work undertaken by NHS Western Isles and expressed his sincere thanks to Board colleagues for their support.”
They added that Mr Ingram was an experienced and respected board member and made an “extremely valuable contribution” during his time as a Non-Executive Director. He will officially leave the Western Isles Health Board at the end of this month.
Board chair Gillian McCannon thanked Ingram for his input and dedication, saying: “Tim was appointed on merit, based on his knowledge and experience, and the value that he brought to the board and to local health services should not be underestimated.”
She added: “We are disappointed in terms of the circumstances surrounding Tim’s resignation, and must say this type of ongoing negative publicity campaign also concerns us in terms of how it reflects on the Western Isles as an inclusive place to live and work.”
The row over the lack of local representation on the health board came to a head when Mr Ingram, the managing director of Strategic Safety Consultants Ltd of Peterculter in Aberdeenshire, was made vice chair.
When Angus McCormack announced his decision to leave the board on Tuesday, November 1, he said he was taking a stand against the number of board members being appointed who do not live in the islands
Mr McCormack said the Scottish Government’s procedure for choosing non-executives was completely wrong and suggested that some current members who lived on mainland Scotland and England had no idea where the islands’ hospitals were.
He hit out that the Scottish Government’s appointment process was wrong and should revert to appointing islanders with relevant knowledge.
Some board members who seem to have no connection with the islands are believed to include Abdul Elghedafi, who describes himself online as a procurement lawyer at South London Legal Partnership in Merton, southwest London.
Another member is Jocelyn McConnachie, who lives in Hastings in Sussex on the south coast of England. She worked for Caledonian MacBrayne as a commercial manager some years ago but has no apparent connection with the islands.
The board’s appointed whistleblowing champion post was advertised locally, and local candidates applied. However, it was handed to Central Belt resident Sheena Wright who spent her career in the NHS and had a spell in the Western Isles from 2008 to 2009.
In the meantime, Mr Ingram has also joined the board of Caledonian MacBrayne, which itself has come under fire for not including islanders or service users on its board.
After similar protests, Murdo MacLennan, from Aignish, was recently appointed as a new non-Executive Director of the Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd Board on 1 October 2022. Murdo, who has Scarp connections, is an active crofter in both Lewis and Harris.
He has held four previous Board appointments – Bord Slàinte nan Eilean Siar, in both executive and non-executive roles; Bòrd na Gàidhlig; The Crofters Commission and was elected to the successor body, the Crofting Commission as a Commissioner. CMAL says: "Mr MacLennan brings a wealth of experience with a special interest in the areas of Board Accountability, Governance, Audit and Finance, and Public Procurement having chaired key committees in these areas on the aforementioned Boards.
"He also holds a current charitable sector position as vice Chair of Bethesda Home and Hospice in Stornoway. Mr MacLennan brings a strong credible perspective of island interests to national fora."