He was honoured at the University of Bath’s virtual celebration of its Winter graduations on Wednesday 2 December.
The University shared celebrations online to mark its graduating Class of 2020 throughout the morning, including a video of Mr Scott’s award of his Degree of Doctor of Health marked with a speech by Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian White and an oration given by Mrs Christine Gibbons, member of University Council.
Mr Scott, who retired in May, after nearly 13 years at the RUH, oversaw the RUH's most recent journey of financial and quality improvement, including achievement of Foundation Trust status in 2014 and securing the future of services of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in 2015.
He worked in partnership to create Wiltshire Health and Care community services and introduced an organisational development programme to support all staff to contribute to continuous improvement.
The University has a long relationship of research collaboration with the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and this year it built on these links to support colleagues in the NHS working through the pandemic, donating more than 400,000 items of PPE to the RUH and regional NHS, including face shields, eye protectors and medical gowns. It also provided free city centre accommodation to NHS staff who needed to isolate from their families or stay closer to work.
“It’s my privilege to be awarded an honorary degree from the University of Bath,” said Mr Scott. “Whilst this is a great personal honour I trust you will permit me to also accept it on behalf of the staff of the RUH. During 2020 the RUH and the University harnessed its already excellent working relationship, having collaborated on research for many years, to help support patients, staff and the local community during the pandemic through PPE donations. I’m proud to be associated with such an impressive institution and long may it continue. Finally, can I take this opportunity to thank the dedicated, committed and resilient team of people who work at the RUH.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University, Professor Bernie Morley, said: “James Scott was due to retire from the NHS in March, but he postponed his leaving date to support his staff during the coronavirus pandemic. This epitomises his devotion throughout his working life to the service of the NHS.
“He began his career in the NHS working night shifts in A&E as an agency porter and he retires with a long and distinguished career behind him, notably transforming our City’s hospital to an institution providing ‘outstanding’ care, from a sound financial footing.
“Mr Scott helped nurture and develop the relationship between our University and the RUH and taking this forward with other anchor institutions through ‘Our Shared Future’ will be a key factor in how we respond to the challenging time we are all currently experiencing both now and looking further ahead.”
Graduating students will be invited to attend a physical ceremony when circumstances allow.