Skip to content
Login Register

In Memoriam – Professor Sir Neil James Douglas

27 Aug 2020

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.

In Memoriam – Professor Sir Neil James Douglas

Our College is saddened to learn that 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.

College President Professor jackie Taylor said:

“I was very saddened to learn of the passing of  Professor Sir Neil James Douglas, Past President of RCPE. Sir Neil had a very distinguished career as a clinician, as President of our sister College and Chair of AoMRC. He brought great energy and commitment to each of these roles and the medical professions has benefited considerably from his contributions. I would like to send my deepest condolences to Sir Neil’s wife and family at this very sad time.”

Our College is grateful to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh for giving us permission to republish this obituary, a version of which was originally published on their website.

Share this story:

Latest news and statements

Key priority areas

Workforce Recovery and Transformation
Health services in many parts of the world are over-stretched due to workforce shortages, rising demand for services and difficulties in retaining staff.
Read more
A healthy healthcare workforce is essential for patient care. When the workforce is exhausted, experiencing burnout, and struggling to balance their work and personal lives, it impacts on everyone.
Read more
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to standing up for equality, diversity and inclusion. We want our College to reflect the diversity in the NHS workforce and in the patients that we care for.
Read more
Climate Change and Sustainability
Climate change has caused great harm to our planet and warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding will all place a significant burden on our health outcomes.
Read more
Health Inequalities
The health inequalities in our society have been both highlighted and exacerbated by the covid pandemic. There is a need to do things differently.
Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of healthcare professionals, and the urgent need to learn whilemfocusing on delivering the best care for our patients has been an enormous challenge.
Read more



Key links

Contact us

Log in

Log in to access your Dashboard, book events, pay your subscriptions and access eLearning material.

Log in

Register an account

New users must register before logging in. You do not need to be a member of the College in order to register.



Having difficulty registering or logging in? Forgotten your username or password?

Get Help