NHS Borders has appointed a new director of public health.

Dr Sohail Bhatti will join the health board on Monday, September 26.

His appointment follows the retirement of Dr Tim Patterson.

Associate director of public health Dr Keith Allan will act as interim director of public health until September 25.

Commenting on his move to the Borders, Dr Bhatti said: “I am really looking forward to joining NHS Borders. I qualified in medicine at the University of Glasgow, having gone to school in the city, and am excited to return to Scotland.

“All my work in public health has been in settings outside of Scotland, so I look forward to applying my knowledge and experience to help improve the health and wellbeing of the wonderful people of the Scottish Borders and the peerless NHS in its tireless task of preventing, treating and managing illness.

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“I have a special interest in remote and rural communities, and am passionate about health inequalities and improving quality in healthcare.”

Dr Bhatti has more than 30 years experience working in the field of public health; initially as a consultant in public health medicine and for around fifteen years as a director of public health in various locations including Huddersfield, East Lancashire, Bristol and London.

Dr Bhatti was also the medical director for the two Huddersfield primary care trusts.

Between 2018 and 2021 Dr Bhatti worked as chief medical officer and director of public health in Gibraltar, during which time he helped lead the territory in its battle against COVID-19, overseeing their world-leading screening efforts and its vaccination programmes.

His contribution to public health was recognised when he was awarded with the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour (GMH), its highest civilian award by Gibraltar’s Parliament on his departure back to the UK.