JAMES Barbour was educated at Madras College, St Andrews and the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow where he gained a BA Joint Honours degree in politics, sociology and economics. He first worked in the NHS as a hospital porter and entered the Graduate Management Training Scheme in 1977. He subsequently worked in posts in Glasgow, at the Great Ormond Street Group of Hospitals in London, Manchester and Aberdeen.
He was a first wave general manager in 1986 and created Scotland’s first NHS Trust in 1991.
In 1994 he was invited to become chief executive of Central Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust and four years later he joined Sheffield Health Authority as chief executive.
He became chief executive of NHS Lothian in August 2001.
He was awarded an OBE in 1992 for services to the NHS and in 2002 he was awarded an honorary professorship in health policy from Queen Margaret University College.