Sam Galbraith embraced two careers as a neurosurgeon at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital and later as a, sometimes controversial but always honest and enthusiastic, politician. He was also remarkable in being among the first to receive a lung transplant and, despite predictions to the contrary, to have a long survival (24 years).

He was born in Lancashire at the end of the Second World War but brought up in Greenock. As a young man he was very active and a keen mountaineer. He graduated BSc Honours at Glasgow in 1968 and later in medicine (1971).

His political career was launched at the general election in 1987 with a surprise victory at Strathkelvin and Bearsden. However his political and medical careers were to be interrupted by the onset of fibrosing alveolitis (from which his sister also fatally suffered). In January 1990 he had his lung transplant operation at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, the only centre carrying out the procedure at the time.

Despite a troublesome long convalescence, Sam Galbraith returned to his political career, becoming a junior minister in Tony Blair’s government of 1997. Two years later, having been elected to the Scottish Parliament, he became responsible for Children and Education where he became embroiled in the crisis affecting the SQA. He later moved to Environment but finally gave up both Westminster and Scottish politics in 2007.

He remained active until his death with teaching medical students, work for the GMC and golf. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.