Dr McLay (68) was an expert in hypertension – abnormally high blood pressure caused by genes, lifestyle or psychological stress.
At the University of Aberdeen, he was one of the team who oversaw Scotland’s first cohort of Physician Associates – a revolutionary role created to address the needs and demands of a changing population – and went on to become the programme lead.
He also made major contributions to the MSc in Clinical Pharmacology course and to the MBChB programme.
He juggled these commitments alongside a very busy clinical load at NHS Grampian, being part of the team in General Medicine delivering inpatient and outpatient care in the past and providing significant contributions to outpatient care more recently.
Born in Enfield, London on September 2, 1953 he was one of four children for Lucy and John McLay, an industrial chemist.
As a youngster he loved to play cricket and rugby, and enjoyed sailing as a sea cadet.
After earning a PhD in 1979 from the University of London, Dr McLay graduated in medicine from the University of Aberdeen in 1983, before joining the institution in March 1990 as a clinical lecturer, becoming a senior clinical lecturer in 1995.
Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, Head of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, said: “James made a significant contribution teaching and clinical services whilst maintaining his research interests through projects in clinical pharmacology.
“He was enormously hard working and responded to the many demands on his time with unfailing enthusiasm and good humour. He touched the lives of many university and NHS colleagues, students and patients.”
Dr Mary Joan Macleod, at the University of Aberdeen, added: “Dr McLay was a very thorough and knowledgeable clinician who was also interested in his patients as people.
"He was loved by junior doctors for his enthusiasm, patience, and ability to pass on his passion for medicine.”