In Memoriam - Professor Sir Neil James Douglas

The College is saddened to learn that our much-loved former president, Professor Sir Neil James Douglas, passed away peacefully at his home in Perthshire at the weekend.

Professor Douglas was a medical doctor and was president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh from 2004–2010, as well as Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges from 2009–2012.

He graduated MBChB from the University of Edinburgh with distinction in medicine, therapeutics and surgery in 1973 having been a pre-clinical scholar at the University of St Andrews. Professor Douglas later became a professor of respiratory and sleep medicine at the University of Edinburgh and an honorary consultant physician at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Professor Douglas dedicated his life to medicine, and in the 2009 New Year Honours, he was made Knight Bachelor for his services to the profession.

Throughout a long and distinguished academic career, Professor Douglas' major interest has been in sleep medicine. He was one of the pioneers in clinical research in this area, and he established the Scottish National Sleep Centre in 1983, also becoming its director until his retirement in 2012.

Professor Angela Thomas, Acting President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Neil, our former president and a friend and colleague of mine. I know he will be terribly missed by his family and all those who knew and worked with him.

Neil was involved with the College for over 30 years. I first met him through the College in the late nineties and got to know him well as we worked together on the College’s Council and through the Harveian Society. First as vice-president, then as president of the College, Neil was always supportive and determined - he certainly knew how to make things happen! He had a superb attention to detail, and always had a kind thank you for those he worked with.

I send my deepest condolences on behalf of the College to Sue, Neil’s wife, and to his family at this difficult time. I would like to express our gratitude to Neil for his commitment to the medical profession and his passion for the College’s success.