Professor Alex McMahon appointed Chief Nursing Officer

Health Secretary hails “excellent leadership.”

Professor Alex McMahon has been appointed Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer.

He has been carrying out the role on an interim basis since October and will now take up the position on a substantive basis for up to three years, following an external recruitment process.

Professor McMahon had previously worked as Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals for NHS Lothian.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome the appointment of Alex McMahon as Chief Nursing Officer.

"He brings a wealth of experience and excellent leadership to this key position as we continue to face up to the challenges of the Covid pandemic.

"I know he will work collaboratively with health and social care staff across the country as we continue to remobilise NHS Scotland and ensure people access the right care, in the right place.

"With his strong professional background and I am confident he will help drive our work to get the health service back on track after the challenges of the past year.”

Professor McMahon said: "I am delighted to take up the role of Chief Nursing Officer.

"Our  workforce have been at the heart of Scotland's response to the pandemic and we know the challenges everyone working across our NHS and social care sector face as we head into one of the toughest winters in recent times.

"I have been struck by the dedication and commitment of our health and social care staff during the past two months and pay tribute to their efforts during this unprecedented time."


Professor McMahon was the Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs at NHS Lothian and was Chair of the Scottish Executive Nurse Directors group for four years, working closely with the previous Chief Nursing Officer to shape policy and professional practice. He qualified as a registered mental health nurse in 1986, and as a registered general nurse in 1989, and has worked in the private sector, NHS and Scottish Government. He holds honorary professorships with the University of Stirling and Queen Margaret University.

The CNO role was advertised as a fair and open external recruitment process and was chaired by a Civil Service Commissioner, in accordance with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles. 

The CNO has professional responsibility for the nursing, midwifery, allied health professions (NMAHP) and Health Care Science (HSC) workforce, as well as being responsible for professional leadership and advise in relation to healthcare associated infection and providing policy advice for ministers on a wide range of health related policy areas.

Professor Amanda Croft stood down in August as CNO for personal reasons.


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