Scottish health secretary resigns over £11k iPad bill

Scotland’s health secretary Michael Matheson has resigned, following a scandal involving an £11,000 iPad roaming data bill.

Mr Matheson said in his resignation letter that he was stepping down to ensure that the scandal did not “become a distraction” to the government.

The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body launched an investigation last year into his roaming charges, which were incurred when Mr Matheson took his work iPad on a holiday to Morocco with his family.

“I have witnessed first-hand the outstanding work that goes on across NHS Scotland every day”

Michael Matheson

Initially, he had claimed that he racked up the £11,000 bill undertaking constituency work, but he later revealed that his sons had used the iPad to watch football while on the holiday.

Mr Matheson has since paid the bill back in full and apologised.

In his resignation letter to Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, Mr Matheson noted that he was still awaiting the conclusion from the cross-party investigation into his roaming charges.

He said: “I have still not received the findings of their review, however, it is in the best interest of myself and the government for me to now step down to ensure this does not become a distraction to taking forward the government’s agenda.”

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Mr Matheson joined the Scottish Government in 2011 as minister for public health.

From then he held a series of positions across government, most recently as cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care in Scotland – a post he held for 11 months.

Mr Matheson said that over the last year he had sought to ensure that the Scottish Government supported the NHS “as it continues to recover from the pandemic”.

He said: “I have witnessed first-hand the outstanding work that goes on across NHS Scotland every day, led by staff dedicated to providing the best possible care to patients.

“Our investment and engagement with NHS staff have also ensured that Scotland is the only part of the UK to avoid highly disruptive industrial action.”

During his time as health secretary, Mr Matheson was responsible for chairing the Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce, which is set to deliver recommendations to tackle nursing recruitment and retention issues in the country.

Other accomplishments during Mr Matheson’s tenure were acknowledged by the first minister, in his letter of response.

Mr Yousaf noted that Mr Matheson had developed a new 10-year cancer strategy and had overseen innovations such as hospital-at-home being rolled out across Scotland.

He added: “You have given your country tremendous service in government, and I know that you will continue to represent the people of Falkirk West with that same energy and dedication.

“I wish you and your family only the very best.”

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