Scotland’s chief medical officer apologises for flouting guidance to visit second home

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) with Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) with Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood at a news conference in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Scotland's chief medical officer has apologised for visiting her family's second home in Fife during the coronavirus pandemic, against her own advice that all Scots should stay home.

Dr Catherine Calderwood said her reasons for visiting the house were 'not legitimate' and she is 'truly sorry for not following advice she gave to others'.

Despite facing calls from politicians to stand down, she said she has spoken to first minister Nicola Sturgeon and will 'continue to focus entirely' on her job of advising ministers over the outbreak.

Photos of Dr Calderwood and her family near a coastal retreat in Earlsferry were published in The Scottish Sun late on Saturday.

Just days earlier, the 51-year-old tweeted a photo of her family at their main residence in Edinburgh as they clapped for the frontline NHS staff working to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.

You may also want to watch:

Earlsferry is a drive of more than an hour from Edinburgh.

In a statement, Dr Calderwood said: 'I wish to apologise unreservedly for the issue reported in the media today.

Most Read

'While there are reasons for what I did, they do not justify it and they were not legitimate reasons to be out of my home.

'While I and my family followed the guidance on social distancing at all times, I understand that I did not follow the advice I am giving to others, and I am truly sorry for that.

'I know how important this advice is and I do not want my mistake to distract from that.

'I have a job to do as chief medical officer to provide advice to ministers on the path of this virus and to support the medical profession as they work night and day to save lives, and having spoken with the First Minister this morning I will continue to focus entirely on that job.'

Scotland's Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said there was no doubt Dr Calderwood's visit - which the Scottish government confirmed was an overnight stay to 'check on a family home' - was 'ill-advised'.

He said she would be 'answerable' for her decision when she appears at the daily coronavirus briefing with Nicola Sturgeon later.

He added: 'I'm saying to everybody... do not go out except in the very exceptional circumstances that are listed, think about these things and remember by breaking them you are risking lives.'

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus