The medical director of Lanarkshire primary care trust has quit, saying her position was no longer tenable, it emerged last week.

Dr Kathleen Long, a former GP and the sister of Labour MP Anne McGuire, said that 'to remain as medical director was unsafe for me personally and professionally'.

She said: 'I believe I have worked hard to the best of my ability and with enthusiasm over the past two and a half years to improve services for patients in Lanarkshire. I would like to assure patients that our staff are working hard to deliver a first-class service, often in difficult circumstances.'

Dr Long said it would be inappropriate to comment further. But HSJ understands that differences arose as a result of the annual assessment process.

Dr Long is well-known in Scotland through her work with the media. As well as newspaper columns, she has appeared as a TV doctor on STV's Scotland To d a y programme. She is also known as a passionate and committed supporter of the NHS.

She will work out her six months' notice until the end of March 2001.

A trust spokesperson confirmed this week that Dr Long's resignation had been accepted 'with great sadness', adding: 'She has been a dedicated and valued member of the trust directorate.

'Her drive and commitment to the job will be missed by all her colleagues.'

Before taking up post, she was a GP in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.