Ernest Macalpine Armstrong
Armstrong was born in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was educated at the former Hamilton Academy. He then studied at the University of Glasgow obtaining a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology in 1968, before then graduating in 1970 with a medical degree with Honours.
Armstrong became a Lecturer in Pathology from 1971–74 at the University of Glasgow. In 1974 he began training as a general practitioner (GP), then in 1975 took up a position as a principal GP in a practice in Connel, Argyllshire.
In 1989, he was elected to the post of chairman of the Scottish GP Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA). He then became chair of the BMA's Scottish Council and then deputy chair of the BMA's General Medical Services Committee (GMSC). In 1993 he was appointed Secretary to the BMA. In this role he made efforts to develop relations between the healthcare professions.
In 2001, Armstrong was appointed Chief Medical Officer for Scotland succeeding Sir David Carter. During his time as CMO he had to deal with a decline in the uptake of the MMR vaccine and the subsequent appearance of cases of measles. He also needed to grapple with the impact of lifestyle choices that was affecting Scotland’s population. He spoke in favour of a complete ban on smoking in public places and urged the Scottish Executive to take the lead and introduce legislation to this effect. He served as CMO until 2005.
He is chair of Alcohol Focus Scotland.
In April 2016 Armstrong publicly cancelled his membership of the BMA. Armstrong cited his disapproval of the strike action taken by junior doctors in England in response to a disputed new contract of employment being imposed.
Armstrong is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh; Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health.
Armstrong was invested as Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2005.
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