Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report 2014-15

The Chief Medical Officer Annual Report 2014 -2015 explores the challenges that face doctors today.

Letter to doctors from the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

photograph of Dr Catherine Calderwood, MA Cantab FRCOG FRCP Edin, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to present my first annual report, which arrives nine months after starting my post as Scotland's Chief Medical Officer; perhaps fitting for an obstetrician and gynaecologist, who continues to work in clinical practice. My report is written in two parts as I seek to engage with the medical profession across Scotland. In the first part I explore and ask for answers to important aspects of how medicine is practiced in this changing world and part 2 describes the health of our nation.

We are working in times of challenge in our NHS and I recognise how this impacts on your professional and personal lives. In this report I want to lay out some of these issues and begin a discussion on some of the fundamental principles of how we practise medicine today; how we, as doctors, can be hugely influential in improving care, reducing these pressures and ultimately being true to the values and ambitions we held when we were competing for those highly desired and limited places at medical school. The role of medical trainees and junior doctors is vital to sustaining the NHS in Scotland and building a profession to meet the challenges of the future. Medicine remains a highly respected profession, and though many regard their chosen vocation as an extremely fulfilling career, some doctors are disillusioned, unhappy and feel undervalued in their work.

I believe that the profession, with doctors as collaborative leaders, as in so much of our history, can influence and be a driver for change. The clinical voice of the highly trained experts in all specialties and across all aspects of medical care is extremely important in our National Health Service in Scotland.

I realise that many of you will have insufficient time to read yet another document which lands in your inbox or on your desk. I ask you to dip in to this report and read the chapters that interest you, contact me to agree or disagree with the content, use the data and graphs as evidence to celebrate the successes we have achieved in the NHS in Scotland or as levers to drive improvement where this is possible. Data too has influence, especially when combined with the narrative of your everyday experience.

I want to engage in a conversation with clinicians on the following questions:

  • How can we further reduce the burden and harm that patients experience from over-investigation and overtreatment?
  • How can we reduce unwarranted variation in clinical practice to achieve optimal outcomes for patients?
  • How can we ensure value for public money and prevent waste?
  • How can people (as patients) and professionals combine their expertise to share clinical decisions that focus on outcomes that matter to individuals?
  • How can we work to improve further the patient-doctor relationship?
  • How can we better identify and manage clinical risk?
  • How can all doctors release their creativity and become innovators improving outcomes for people they provide care for?

Dr Catherine Calderwood, MA Cantab FRCOG FRCP Edin
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

I'd really welcome your opinion. If you have feedback I can be reached at:


Phone: 0131 244 2379

You can also interact with me on and via my blog and via at or complete my survey


Email: Diane Dempster

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