Scotland's former chief medical officer to appear before Covid-19 Inquiry

Catherine Calderwood, who breached her own lockdown rules, will give evidence to the investigation.

Scotland’s former chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood to appear before Covid-19 Inquiry STV News

Scotland’s former chief medical officer, who breached her own lockdown rules, will appear as a witness before the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry on Wednesday.

Catherine Calderwood’s scheduled appearance was rearranged after being cancelled last week.

Calderwood resigned in April 2020 after she breached lockdown restrictions in order to visit her second home in Earlsferry, Fife, which is more than an hour away from her main residence in Edinburgh.

Despite then first minister Nicola Sturgeon backing Dr Calderwood to remain in her position, she ultimately decided to resign so as not to be a “distraction” from the Scottish Government’s social distancing message.

She was appointed national clinical director of the new centre for sustainable delivery at the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank in January 2021.

It comes after former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the inquiry that Scotland had no plan for a non-flu pandemic ahead of Covid.

She said there was “thinking” within government around how to deal with infectious diseases which were not flu before the outbreak, but nothing was ever properly laid down in documents.

Asked if she agreed with other inquiry participants who previously described the plan as “wholly inadequate”, Sturgeon replied: “In summary, yes. The plan was for a different type of pandemic than the one we unfortunately were confronted with.

Later in her evidence, Sturgeon was quizzed about her government’s decision to divert resources from emergency planning in the lead up to the pandemic to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

She said: “Brexit, obviously, was something that was happening completely against the will of the Scottish Government so we were not at all happy about what we were having to do.

“But to put it bluntly we had no choice because had a no-deal Brexit happened – and there were periods over 2019 where that was a distinct possibility – the consequences of that would have been very, very severe.

“We had no choice but to do that planning. I deeply regret any consequences that had for our emergency planning in other areas.”

The inquiry, which is chaired by retired lawyer Baroness Heather Hallett, has already heard from former Prime Minister David Cameron, former chancellor George Osborne, and the UK’s former health secretary Matt Hancock.

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