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Scotland confirms appointment of interim CNO

An interim chief nursing officer (CNO) has been appointed in Scotland, as Professor Alex McMahon prepares to retire later this month.

Professor McMahon’s deputy, Anne Armstrong, will take over the role temporarily until the Scottish Government recruits someone into the role permanently.

Ms Armstrong joined the Scottish Government in January 2020 as the professional nurse adviser for mental health and learning disabilities. She then became deputy CNO in August 2021.

Prior to this, Ms Armstrong worked in NHS Scotland for several years, within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire.

During this time she held several senior positions, including executive and non-executive roles.

Ms Armstrong will step into the CNO role from Friday 26 April, when Professor McMahon retires.

He has served in the national CNO post since December 2021, having first carried out the role on an interim basis from the October of the same year.

Professor McMahon’s career has spanned 40 years, working in both adult and mental health nursing and across the NHS, private sector and trade unions.

He spoke to Nursing Times earlier this year about his proudest moments in the role and the legacy that had been left for his successor.

See also  England CNO to take on public health nursing leadership

In a new statement released today, Professor McMahon said: “Being the CNO in Scotland has been a great privilege.

“It really has been the ‘icing on the cake’ of my career.”

Under Professor McMahon’s leadership, Scotland became the only country in the UK to settle the recent nurse pay dispute without strike action.

Alex McMahon wearing navy suit jacket with white shirt. He is stood in front of a plain white wall and smiling.

Alex McMahon

He also oversaw the formation of the Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce, the implementation of the UK’s first-ever healthcare safe staffing legislation and the beginnings of exploring the idea of a National Care Service.

Professor McMahon added: “None of the work I’ve been involved with would have been possible without the support of a strong team and I’d like to thank them for helping me drive forward these changes that I hope have made a difference.”

Scotland’s health secretary, Neil Gray, paid tribute to Professor McMahon.

He said: “Throughout his tenure as chief nursing officer, Professor McMahon has demonstrated a profound commitment to the nursing profession, championing the interests of healthcare workers and advocating for the highest standards of patient care.

“His leadership has been characterised by compassion, integrity and a relentless pursuit of excellence during some of the most challenging times for our health service.

“On behalf of the Scottish Government, I’d like to congratulate Professor McMahon on his distinguished career and extend our sincerest gratitude for his service.

“I wish him a long and fulfilling retirement.”

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