Senior health appointments

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officers announced.


Professor Alison Strath has been confirmed as the Scottish Government’s new Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPO), while Professors Graham Ellis and Nicola Steedman have been appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officers (DCMOs).

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer is the professional lead for NHS pharmaceutical care and medicines policy in Scotland, providing advice to the First Minister, the Health Secretary, the wider Ministerial team and strategic leadership to the pharmacy profession in Scotland.

The DCMOs support and deputise for the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and work closely with the Chief Scientist (Health), a number of doctors within the Civil Service seconded from the NHS, and administrative colleagues. 

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“The past year has highlighted just how important health and social care is to the work of the Scottish Government, and I’m delighted to welcome Professor Alison Strath as Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and Professors Graham Ellis and Nicola Steedman as our new Deputy Chief Medical Officers.

“They will all play a key role in ensuring that health and social care advice informs our work across the board and adds value to our pandemic response.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:

“Scotland’s response to the pandemic has been informed by a strong clinical team, working around the clock and adapting to change in unprecedented circumstances.

“We’re only as strong as the colleagues who support us and I am proud to work with an incredibly dedicated team of clinicians. These permanent appointments ensure we continue the high quality work which started even before the pandemic, but which will prove vital as we recover from coronavirus.”

Professor Strath and Professor Steedman were already in place as interim CPO and DCMO on a temporary basis. They take up their posts with immediate effect following an external recruitment process.  Professor Ellis takes up his new post on 6 September 2021, and joins the Scottish Government on secondment from NHS Lanarkshire.


All of the roles are full-time appointments. .

Professor Strath has been working within the Scottish Government since 2002, initially as Principal Pharmaceutical Officer and, since October 2020, as interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer. She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 2010 and as an Emeritus Professor at the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2018.

Professor Ellis has been working within the Scottish Government since November 2019, initially as a clinical adviser to the CMO and latterly as Senior Medical Officer for Ageing and Health.  In Autumn 2020 he was instrumental in setting up an Older Peoples’ Directorate within the Safety and Quality Improvement Division of Scottish Government.  He is a member of the SAGE Social Care Working Group – a subgroup of the wider SAGE secretariat with academic and policy colleagues from across the UK.

Professor Steedman has been working as DCMO on an interim basis since April 2020. She is an Honorary Consultant Physician in Sexual Health and HIV at the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.



Media enquiries

Back to top