Chief Medical Officers (United Kingdom)

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In the United Kingdom, a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is the most senior government advisor on matter relating to health. There are four CMOs in the United Kingdom who are appointed to advise their respective governments:

Each CMO is assisted by one or more Deputy Chief Medical Officers, and complemented by a Chief Nursing 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.[2] The CMO has independent statutory authority, first established in the 19th century, to issue reports without requiring government approval.[3]

Chief Medical Officers for England[edit]

The historic post was created in Victorian times to help to prevent cholera and other epidemics.[4] 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.[5]



Chief Medical Officers for Scotland[edit]

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:[5]

Chief Medical Officers for Wales[edit]

The Welsh post[27] was created in 1969. Prior to this there was one post for both England and Wales, the Chief Medical Officer for England and Wales.[5]

Chief Medical Officers for Northern Ireland[edit]

  • William Richard Dawson (1922–1929) Chief Medical Officer of Ministry of Home Affairs, Northern Ireland[28]
  • Frank F. Main (1954–1968)
  • Thomas Terence Baird (1973–1978)[29]
  • Bob Weir (1978–1986)[30]
  • James McKenna (1988–1995)[29]
  • Henrietta Campbell (1995–2006)
  • Sir Michael McBride (2006–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chief Medical Officer (CMO)". Scottish Government. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Chief professional officers". Department of Health (UK). Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  3. ^ MacAulay M, Macintyre AK, Yashadhana A, et al. (January 2022). "Under the spotlight: understanding the role of the Chief Medical Officer in a pandemic". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 76 (1). Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Chief Medical Officer: biography". Department of Health (UK). 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
  5. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  6. ^ "The Senior Team". Department of Health. 12 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Professor Dame Sally C Davies". Department of Health. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  8. ^ "New chief medical officer appointed". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Dr Liz Shore". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Michael Abrams obituary". Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Professor David Walker". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Professor John Watson". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Professor Gina Radford". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Dr Jenny Harries OBE". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Professor Jonathan Van-Tam". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Dr Aidan Fowler". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  17. ^ "New interim deputy chief medical officer for England announced". GOV.UK. 13 May 2021. Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  18. ^ "New body to tackle health disparities will launch 1 October, co-headed by new DCMO". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  19. ^ "New Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England announced". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Professor Chris Whitty". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  21. ^ "James B Russell". The Glasgow Story. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  22. ^ "James Burn Russell". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Public health administration in Glasgow; a memorial volume of the writings of James Burn Russell". Hathi Trust Digital Library. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  24. ^ Smith, David F. (November 1999). "EDNA ROBERTSON, Glasgow's Doctor: James Burn Russell, 1837-1904 (review)". Scottish Economic & Social History. EU Publishing. 19 (2): 174–176. doi:10.3366/sesh.1999.19.2.174. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  25. ^ Lawrence, Christopher (2000). "Glasgow's Doctor: James Burn Russell, MOH, 1837-1904 (review)". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Johns Hopkins University. 74: 171. doi:10.1353/bhm.2000.0025. S2CID 71853151. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Sir Harry Burns". The Scottish Government, Health & Community Care. 23 January 2014. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  27. ^ "Health and social care: Chief Medical Officer". Welsh Government. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  28. ^ Western Daily Press, Bristol, 30 October 1950; Bath Wills: British Medical Journal 1950 Obituary
  29. ^ a b "Four Decades of Public Health : Northern Ireland's health boards 1973 – 2009" (PDF). Public Health Agency NI. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  30. ^ "The Dictionary of Ulster Biography". New Ulster Biography. Retrieved 20 April 2016.

External links[edit]