Chief Medical Officer (United Kingdom)
In the United Kingdom, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is the most senior government advisor on health matters. There are four CMOs in the United Kingdom who are appointed to advise their respective governments: Her Majesty's Government (CMO for England and medical adviser to the United Kingdom government), the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. Each CMO is assisted by one or more Deputy Chief Medical Officers, and are complemented by a Chief Nursing Officer.
In England, the CMO is a civil servant (Permanent Secretary level) in the Department of Health and Social Care, and head of the medical civil service and public health. The Republic of Ireland has a similar officer.
The Chief Medical Officer is a qualified medical doctor whose medical speciality traditionally was public health medicine, and whose work focused on the health of communities rather than health of individuals. More recently some appointees have been senior clinicians without training in public health medicine. In the UK, the CMO is one of the chief professional officers who advise the government in their respective health and social care disciplines.
The nearest equivalents US terms are Surgeon General or Assistant Secretary for Health. The term Surgeon General is also a used in the British Armed Forces for the head of medical services. In non-government organisations, companies or bodies such as policing, chief medical officer may refer to a senior medical post in the organisation.
Chief Medical Officers for Her Majesty's Government
The historic post was created in Victorian times to help to prevent cholera and other epidemics. In 1969 the post of Chief Medical Officer for Wales was created, and prior to this both England and Wales were covered by the post of Chief Medical Officer of England and Wales.
- Sir John Simon (1855–1876)
- Dr Edward Cator Seaton (1876–1879)
- Sir George Buchanan (1879–1892)
- Sir Richard Thorne Thorne (1892–1899)
- Sir William Henry Power (1900–1908)
- Sir Arthur Newsholme (1908–1919)
- Sir George Newman (1919–1935)
- Sir Arthur MacNalty (1935–1940)
- Sir Wilson Jameson (1940–1950)
- Sir John Charles (1950–1960)
- Sir George Godber (1960–1973)
- Sir Henry Yellowlees (1973–1984)
- Sir Donald Acheson (1984–1991)
- Sir Kenneth Calman (1991–1998)
- Sir Liam Donaldson (1998-May 2010)
- Professor Dame Sally Davies (June 2010-Sept 2019)
- Professor Chris Whitty (Oct 2019–present)
Chief Medical Officers for Scotland
Through various reorganisations, the CMOs for Scotland has been the chief medical officer in the Local Government Board for Scotland, Scottish Board of Health, Department of Health for Scotland, the Scottish Home and Health Department, the Scottish Executive Health Department and now the Scottish Government:
- J. B. McLintock (1894–1898)
- James Burn Russell (1898–1904)
- Sir Leslie Mackenzie (1904–1929)
- J. P. Kinloch (1929–1932)
- J. L. Brownlie (1932–1937)
- J. M. Mackintosh (1937–1941)
- Sir Andrew Davidson (1941–1954)
- Sir Kenneth Cowan (1954–1964)
- Sir John Brotherston (1964–1977)
- Sir John Reid (1977–1985)
- Dr Iain Macdonald (1985–1989)
- Prof. Sir Kenneth Calman (1989–1991)
- Dr Robert Kendell (1991–1996)
- Prof Sir David Carter (1996–2000)
- Dr Ernest Macalpine ("Mac") Armstrong (2000–2005)
- Prof. Sir Harry Burns (2005–2014)
- Professor Aileen Keel (2014 – 2015; acting)
- Dr Catherine Calderwood (from 2015)
Chief Medical Officers for Wales
- Dr Richard Bevan (1969–1977)
- Prof. Gareth Crompton (1978–1989)
- Dame Deirdre Hine (1990–1997)
- Dr Ruth Hall (1997–2005)
- Dr David Salter (acting from July 2005 to April 2006)
- Dr Tony Jewell (18 April 2006 – 2012)
- Dr Ruth Hussey (2012–2016)
- Dr Chris Jones (acting; from March to July 2016)
- Dr Frank Atherton (1 August 2016 – Present)
Chief Medical Officers for Northern Ireland
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