Scotland’s chief medical officer resigns over lockdown trips

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigns over lockdown trips

6 April 2020 03:54 pm

Scotland's chief medical officer has resigned after making two trips to her second home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Dr Catherine Calderwood had apologised for her actions, and initially said she planned to continue in the role.

She was backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said Dr Calderwood had made a mistake but should stay in her job.

But Dr Calderwood released a statement later on Sunday saying she had quit.

She said she had done so after speaking again to the first minister, and had agreed with her that the "justifiable focus" on her actions risked distracting from the pandemic response.

Dr Calderwood had earlier been given a police warning for breaking the lockdown rules after the Scottish Sun published photographs taken on Saturday of her and her family visiting Earlsferry in Fife - more than an hour's drive from her main family home in Edinburgh.

The chief medical officer had fronted TV and radio adverts urging the public to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS, and took part in daily televised media briefings alongside Ms Sturgeon.

Dr Calderwood issued an apology on Sunday morning and said she did not want her "mistake" to distract from the guidance on social distancing.

She later admitted during a televised press briefing that she had also made another visit to the property in Fife last weekend with her husband, but insisted she would be remaining in her post.

Ms Sturgeon said repeatedly during the briefing that she wanted Dr Calderwood to remain in her role as her expertise was "invaluable" during the coronavirus crisis.

The first minister announced later on Sunday that Dr Calderwood would not be be attending any more briefings "for the foreseeable future" and would no longer be the face of the coronavirus public information campaign.

But she said Dr Calderwood would continue to offer scientific and medical advice to the Scottish government on the spread of the virus.