(BBC) – Scotland’s chief medical officer has resigned after apologising for visiting her second home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dr Catherine Calderwood said she was “deeply sorry” and resigned “with a heavy heart”.
She said she agreed with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the “justifiable focus” on her behaviour risked distracting from the pandemic response.
Dr Calderwood was given a police warning after making the trip to Fife.
The chief medical officer was among those who have been urging the public to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.
However, pictures of her during the a family trip to Earlsferry were published in The Scottish Sun.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Dr Calderwood’s advice to me, to the government and to people across Scotland over the past few weeks has been the right advice. People should continue to stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives.
“It is, however, clear that the mistake she made – even though she has apologised sincerely and honourably for it – risks distracting from and undermining confidence in the government’s public health message at this crucial time.
“That is not a risk either of us is willing to take.”
‘Very serious mistake’
In her statement, Dr Calderwood said: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and the mistakes I have made.
“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.
“Having worked so hard on the government’s response, that is the last thing I want.”
She said she would work to ensure a smooth transition to her successor.
The first minister added that the “very serious mistake” made by Dr Calderwood should not detract from her “highly valuable contribution to the medical profession and to health in Scotland”.
Dr Calderwood had faced calls to resign from opposition politicians.
Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said her decision to stand down was “embarrassing and inevitable”, while Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said Ms Sturgeon should have “nipped this in the bud” earlier.