NHS Scotland CEO resigns due to ill health

The chief executive of NHS Scotland, Malcolm Wright, has resigned due to ill health.
Malcolm Wright, the chief executive of NHS Scotland has resigned.Malcolm Wright, the chief executive of NHS Scotland has resigned.
Malcolm Wright, the chief executive of NHS Scotland has resigned.

Mr Wright is believed to have an “underlying medical condition”, which has led to his standing down as CEO and the Scottish Government’s Director General of Health and Social Care.

The Scottish Government said interim arrangements were already in place as a result of the “intense and challenging period of response and recovery” from Covid-19.

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Elinor Mitchell, Director for Community Health and Social Care has been appointed temporary DG Health and Social Care and John Connaghan, Chief Performance Officer NHS Scotland and Director of Delivery and Resilience, has been appointed interim Chief Executive of NHS Scotland.

Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman, who announced Mr Wright’s resignation, said she was sorry to see him go. “I know this was a difficult decision but one he has had to make for medical reasons.

“He leaves with my greatest respect and gratitude. I have valued the wealth of knowledge and experience that he brought to the role, especially at this challenging time. I wish him well for a happy and healthy future.”

She added: “I know that Elinor Mitchell and John Connaghan have worked closely with Malcolm as key members of his team and that they share my determination to equip our health and care system to meet the current challenges and to continue delivering an excellent service for the people of Scotland. I am confident they will continue to meet the challenges we face and continue to give our service the leadership it deserves.”

Malcolm Wright had previously held senior health service posts covering Tayside, Grampian, Dumfries and Galloway and Edinburgh Sick Children’s NHS Trust.

His resignation comes a day after confusion about government’s guidance over when elderly patients could be moved from hospital to residential homes as the number of deaths in care homes increases.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said she had not seen the latest guidance published by the government on Saturday night. Despite her belief that all elderly patients should have two negative Covid-19 tests before being moved into care homes, the guidance stated that for those with no coronavirus symptoms one test was sufficient, and the results could be given after the patient had moved into a care home.

The government was forced to withdraw the guidance which Ms Freeman said had been published “in error” before it had completed the clinical review process.

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