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Chief Medical Officer (United Kingdom): Wikis


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There are four Chief Medical Officers (CMO) in the United Kingdom who are appointed to advise their respective governments on health related matters: Her Majesty's Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government[1] and the Welsh Assembly Government. The CMO is the most senior advisor on health matters in each government, and each CMO is assisted by one or more Deputy Chief Medical Officers.

In England, the CMO is a member of the board of the National Health Service (NHS), a civil servant in the Department of Health, and head of the medical civil service. The Republic of Ireland has a similar officer.

The Chief Medical Officer is a qualified medical doctor whose specialty is in public health and in the health of communities, rather than health of individuals. The CMO is one of the six chief professional officers, one for each of six professions, who advise the government in their respective specialty.[2]

The equivalent U.S. term is Surgeon General. The term Surgeon General is also a used in the British Armed Forces for the head of medical services. In non-government organisations, such as policing, chief medical officer may refer to a senior medical post in the organisation. When appointed outside government the chief medical officer will often decide on physical and mental fitness to serve issues, and the role may not be in public health.


Chief Medical Officers for Her Majesty's Government

The historic post was created in Victorian times to help to prevent cholera epidemics.[3] 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.[4]

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:[4]

  • JB McLintock (1894 - 1898)
  • JB Russell (1898 - 1904)
  • Sir Leslie Mackenzie (1904 -1929)
  • JP Kinloch (1929 - 1932)
  • JL Brownlie (1932 - 1937)
  • JM 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 Kenneth Calman 1989 - 1991
  • Dr Robert Kendell 1991 - 1996
  • Prof Sir David Carter 1996 - 2000
  • Dr Ernest Macalpine ("Mac") Armstrong 2000 - 2005
  • Dr Harry Burns 2005 - current[5]

Chief Medical Officers for Wales

The Welsh regional post was created in 1969, prior to this there was one post for both England and Wales, the Chief Medical Officer for England and Wales.[4]

  • Dr Richard Bevan 1969 - 1977
  • Prof Gareth Crompton 1978 - 1989
  • Dame Deirdre Hine 1990 - 1997
  • Dr Ruth Hall 1997 - 2006
  • Dr Tony Jewell 18 April 2006 - present

Chief Medical Officers for Northern Ireland

  • Dr Henrietta Campbell
  • Dr Michael McBride 2006- present

See also


  1. ^ "The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is the Scottish Government's principal medical adviser", The Scottish Government, Health & Community Care, retrieved 24 November 2008
  2. ^ "Chief professional officers". Department of Health (UK). Retrieved 4 December 2007.  
  3. ^ a b "Chief Medical Officer: biography". Department of Health, United Kingdom. 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007.  
  4. ^ a b c Warren, Michael D. "A Chronology of State Medicine, Public Health, Welfare and Related Services in Britain 1066-1999" (PDF). Royal College of Physicians of England. pp. 302–304. Retrieved 28 October 2007.  
  5. ^ "The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland". The Scottish Government, Health & Community Care. 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.  


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