Who is Dr Gregor Smith, the chief medical officer awarded a knighthood?

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Scotland’s chief medical officer, who has advised on the Scottish Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, has been made a Knight Batchelor in the New Year Honours list.

Dr Gregor Smith has been the most senior medical advisor for the majority of the pandemic, informing ministers about Covid-19 medical and scientific data and the impact of restrictions, as well as facing questions at press briefings.

He has now been knighted in the Queen’s 2022 New Year Honours for services to public health and said he was “surprised and feel honoured” about the award.

Dr Smith had been Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer from 2015 to April 2020, before taking on his current role – firstly on an interim basis – following the resignation of Dr Catherine Calderwood, who had been photographed breaking coronavirus travel rules to visit her second home early in the pandemic.

Trained as a general practitioner, Glasgow University graduate Dr Smith spent much of his career working as a GP in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire before becoming the medical director for primary care at NHS Lanarkshire, one of Scotland’s largest health boards.

Dr Gregor Smith at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Dr Gregor Smith at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish Government/PA)

He began advising the Scottish Government in 2012 and was part of the negotiating team for the Scottish GP contract.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, he took a stern line when Sports Direct initially said it would keep its shops open during the lockdown.

Commenting on his knighthood, Dr Smith said: “I am surprised and feel honoured to receive a knighthood in The Queen’s New Year Honours list for services to public health.

“This means a huge amount to me but it is a reflection of the work that a good number of us have undertaken during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to thank everyone who I have worked with, in the Scottish Government and associated organisations, for their contribution to this response.

“It is a privilege and a pleasure to serve as the chief medical officer for Scotland.

“As we face further challenges ahead, I especially want to thank my colleagues across the country for their professionalism, their support and their commitment to caring for the people of Scotland.”

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