The chairman of NHS Highland has resigned with immediate effect, the Scottish Government has said.
David Alston took the role over from Garry Coutts in April 2016, having first joined NHS Highland as a non-executive director in 2003.
Before his appointment, Mr Alston had been a long-serving Highland councillor.
David said “I am immensely grateful to all of the team here at NHS Highland. It has been my privilege to serve as a director of this incredible health board since 2003 and as its chair since 2016.
“Throughout my time with NHS Highland, we have seen many changes and have overcome many challenges. However, the need for change continues and is probably now greater than ever.
“I believe that a new chair at this time, as the board embarks upon a new programme of service transformation, will provide a fresh approach and enable the service to look forward with confidence.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has appointed Professor Boyd Robertson as the interim chair of NHS Highland.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
She said: “I am pleased that Professor Boyd Robertson has accepted the role of interim chair of NHS Highland. This is a critical leadership role and Professor Robertson has extensive experience in Scotland’s public life, including senior leadership roles.
“It is vital that NHS Highland, under the direction of Professor Robertson and Iain Stewart, moves forward at pace addressing the known priority areas of improvement required including finance and service delivery and embracing fully the work needed from John Sturrock QC’s review when finalised.
“The priority, as always across NHS Scotland, is safe and effective patient care, and I am confident that under their leadership, people across the Highlands will receive the excellent level of service they deserve.”
Kate Forbes MSP said: “This is an important day for NHS Highland, with new leadership at the helm.
“I am grateful to David Alston for his service to Highland communities and wish him well for the future.
“It’s exciting to welcome Boyd Robertson to this post on an interim basis, as he brings with him extensive experience of working, living and serving in the Highlands. I look forward to working with him.
“Over the last few years, there have been a number of challenges in the Highlands including Skye hospital, Raasay and Glenelg.
“I hope that new leadership at the top signifies a change of direction in engaging with, listening to and delivering for the communities I represent.”