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Connections, influence, and passion: all in a day’s work for the Scottish CMO

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3276 (Published 18 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3276
  1. Bryan Christie
  1. 1Edinburgh

    In the first of a series of interviews with the chief medical officers of the UK’s countries, Bryan Christie asks Scotland’s Harry Burns about the future of public health

    Devolution is changing the face of health care in the UK. Scotland was first to ban smoking in public places and others have followed. Wales has scrapped prescription charges and Scotland has plans to do the same. Despite an early set back the minority Scottish government intends to pursue legislation to set a minimum price for alcohol—a move supported by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England.

    These differences are a strength and not a weakness, says Scotland’s chief medical officer Harry Burns. “I don’t think it is essential that all four governments move at the same pace and in the same direction. What is important is that we learn from each other and from other parts of Europe,” he said.

    Part of that learning comes from regular discussions among the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Dr Burns …

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