A Scottish health board chair has vociferously denied that his involvement with 14 private companies and another public sector body in any way affects his performance in the NHS.

Ian Livingstone, chair of Lanarkshire health board, was responding to criticism from Unison and a local Scottish National Party leader, prompted by local press reports in the wake of the board's annual report last week.

Mr Livingstone said: 'While the list of directorships appears extensive in total, it represents a commitment of no more than half a day per week. This leaves the rest of the week for me to devote my energies to my responsibilities as chair of the health board and Lanarkshire Development Agency.'

Richard Lyle, SNP group leader on North Lanarkshire council, said he had 'no idea' how Mr Livingston could manage his different roles.

'I have nothing against Ian Livingstone personally and I am not calling into question his integrity, but I believe there should be elections for health board chairs and that the appointee system should be done away with, ' he said.

Unison head of health in Scotland Jim Devine said the number of directorships held by Mr Livingstone was 'excessive'.

'Perhaps we need to draw from a wider pool of people in appointing individuals to these positions.'

Health board corporate affairs manager Neil Agnew said Mr Livingstone's outside interests had been declared in successive annual reports since he became chair.

Chair steps down at HSJ's HA of the year

Bryan Stoten is stepping down as chair of Birmingham health authority after seven years. 'It was always understood by this government that you must live on the patch. As I live in Warwickshire, and have done all the time I have been chair, it is only right that I stand down now my term has come to an end.'

When he took over, the authority was£23million overspent, beset by controversy and facing a Commons public accounts committee enquiry. Within 17 months, it was back in balance.

Last year Birmingham was named HA of the year in HSJ's Health Management Awards.