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Scottish Government announces interim CNO

Scottish Government announces interim CNO

The Scottish Government has announced the appointment of an interim chief nursing officer (CNO) who will start in post later this month.

Anne Armstrong, who is currently deputy CNO in Scotland, will replace Professor Alex McMahon on an in interim basis from Friday 26 April.

The news comes as Professor McMahon is set to retire later this month after more than two years in the role.

Professor McMahon was officially appointed to the CNO position in December 2021, having carried out the role on an interim basis since the October of that year.

During his tenure, Professor McMahon oversaw the implementation of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 and played a ‘key role’ in the creation of Scotland’s nursing and midwifery taskforce.

Professor McMahon said: ‘Being the CNO in Scotland has been a great privilege. It really has been the ‘icing on the cake’ of my career.

‘None of the work I’ve been involved with would have been possible without the support of a strong team and I’d like to thank them for helping me drive forward these changes that I hope have made a difference.’

Health secretary Neil Gray added that Professor McMahon had ‘demonstrated a profound commitment to the nursing profession, championing the interests of healthcare workers and advocating for the highest standards of patient care’.

‘His leadership has been characterised by compassion, integrity and a relentless pursuit of excellence during some of the most challenging times for our health service.’

The CNO role will be advertised as part of ‘a fair and open external recruitment process’ and will be chaired by a civil service commissioner, the Scottish Government said.

Ms Armstrong, who was appointed deputy CNO in the summer of 2021, will act as the interim CNO until the recruitment process to fulfil the CNO post has concluded.

Ms Armstrong first joined the Scottish Government in January 2020 as a nurse advisor for mental health, and has held a number of senior positions across Scotland’s NHS.

In a message to Nursing in Practice readers on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, Professor McMahon paid tribute to the dedication of the nursing profession and stressed that nurses’ wellbeing was his ‘priority’.

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