Scottish Government offers £140k for next chief medical officer

Successful candidate for "highly visible" role will replace Catherine Calderwood, who resigned after flouting coronavirus advice
Scotland's last CMO, Catherine Calderwood (right), played a key role in the early coronavirus response. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Archive/PA Images

The Scottish Government is seeking a chief medical officer to replace Catherine Calderwood, who resigned in April after flouting her own advice on coronavirus.

A salary of around £140,000 is on offer for Scotland's next CMO, who will be the top medical adviser to the first minister, health minister and others in government. They will have “direct involvement in discussions on all major policy issues”, according to the candidate pack.

The job advert, which comes a few months after Calderwood was found to have travelled to a second home during lockdown, notes that the CMO will also play a “highly visible role” and have a “high external profile”.

Calderwood, who had been Scotland's CMO since 2015 and who was integral to the UK and Scottish governments' early responses to the Covid-19 outbreak, resigned shortly after being photographed at her second home in Fife. Deputy chief medical officer Gregor Smith has been acting CMO since 5 April.

The priorities for Calderwood’s successor will include helping to manage the impact of the pandemic, including “delivery of a high-quality test and protect capability, surveillance and delivery of treatment to those affected”.

They will also support the “remobilisation” of the health and care service after lockdown, which includes ensuring arrangements are in place to deal with subsequent waves of Covid-19.

They will also play an important role in Scotland’s ongoing priorities, which include modernising and reforming primary care and social care, and improving mental-health services.

Improvement in these areas, as well as improving the resilience of the public-health service that can respond to both health inequalities and disease outbreaks, will be “supported through embedded and sustained evidence-based practice”, the candidate pack said.

The chief medical officer will be the main point of contact for other UK chief medical officers, as well as senior figures in the EU, the World Health Organisation and other bodies, and will be the leader of Scotland’s medical profession.

They will be a UK-registered medical practitioner with experience of “delivering creative and innovative solutions to complex issues” and driving “safe, effective, person-centred care, underpinned by value for money”.

The chief medical officer is based in the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, which is also the headquarters of NHS Scotland.

They will “work collaboratively across the directorates in the Scottish Government, the NHS, the wider health and care system and public sector as well as a range of professional networks”, according to the job ad.

“You will be a champion for the culture, values and behaviours of the health and care system,” it said.

The CMO will report to the director general for health and social care and chief executive of NHS Scotland.

Applications for the role close on 25 October.

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