Chief Medical Officer Steps Down After Ignoring Own Lockdown Advice

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland has been obliged to resign after flouting the lockdown rules she promulgated for a break at her second home.

Dr Catherine Calderwood had been photographed at her countryside retreat in Earlsferry, Fife, more than an hour’s drive from her main home and place of work in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh — completely at odds with her own advice, backed by the force of law, that the well-off avoid non-essential travel to second home, particularly to more rural and remote areas which could struggle to cope with coronavirus outbreaks.

Dr Calderwood received a police warning after her actions were exposed in the Scottish edition of The Sun newspaper, but had initially intended to cling to her job with the support of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the left-wing Scottish National Party (SNP) who heads Scotland’s devolved executive — roughly equivalent to a U.S. state government.

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Monica Lennon, health spokesman for Scottish Labour, remarked that Calderwood’s actions were “extremely disappointing and hypocritical”, and asked: “If the Chief Medical Officer can’t lead by example what chance do we have of convincing people to stay at home?”

Persistent questions along these lines, along with accusations that she was adopting an elitist “do as I say, not as I do” posture at a time when many ordinary Scots and other Britons without access even to private gardens are struggling with the lockdown and being harassed by police for relatively minor infractions, quickly rendered the top medic’s position untenable.

“The First Minister and I have had a further conversation this evening and we have agreed that the justifiable focus on my behaviour risks becoming a distraction from the hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic,” she said in a statement confirming her resignation.

“Having worked so hard on the government’s response, that is the last thing I want,” she added.

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