Chief Nursing Officer post: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. To ask the Scottish Government how many times on the podium appeared together to deliver messages to the Public and answer questions from Journalists.

  • The First Minister and Chief Constable
  • The First Minister and Mr J Leitch
  • The First Minister and Chief Nursing Officer

2. To ask how many Chief Nursing Officer posts have there been changes in since COVID 19 until the appointment of Professor Alex McMahon.

Professor Amanda Croft stood down in August as CNO for personal reasons - 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 and responder signatory of FOI in NHS Lothian.

3. To ask the payments made to Professor Croft while in post.

4. To ask the payments made to Professor McMahon while in post.


1. The number of times that the First Minister has appeared on the podium to deliver messages to the public and answer questions from journalists during the COVID-19 pandemic with the Chief Constable, Mr J Leitch and the Chief Nursing Officer is not held centrally. This is formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However video recordings of all of the sessions that you ask about were made and are accessible via this link.

2. During the COVID 19 Pandemic there have been 3 Chief Nursing Officers in the Scottish Government:

  • Professor Fiona McQueen - April 2015 - February 2021
  • Professor Amanda Croft - February 2021 – August 2021
  • Professor Alex McMahon - Interim October 2021/Substantive January 2022

As you noted from the Press Release that was issued at the end of last year, Professor Croft stepped down unexpectedly for personal reasons in August 2021. The Deputy CNO team covered the area until Professor McMahon was appointed on an interim basis in October 2021. Following an external recruitment competition Professor McMahon was confirmed as the new substantive CNO from 1 January this year.

3. The CNO role is Senior Civil Service (SCS) Director level which is SCS Pay Band 2 (Pay Range £95,930 - £103,495). Professor Croft was paid directly by the Scottish Government and her salary information is regarded as personal information. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under s.38.(1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information. This exemption applies because the information is third party personal data and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.

4. Professor McMahon is not employed by the Scottish Government as he is seconded from NHS Lothian. We are therefore unable to provide the information requested. The Scottish Government reimburse NHS Lothian for all salary and associated costs that are applicable throughout the duration of the secondment. If you require any further details, I suggest that you contact NHS Lothian direct:

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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