Malcolm Wright, a health service veteran with over 40 years of experience in various NHS roles, has been appointed as the new chief executive of NHS Scotland after performing in the role on an interim basis since February.

Mr Wright, whose previous posts include Chief Executive roles at NHS Grampian, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Education for Scotland and interim Chief Executive at NHS Tayside, has been installed in the ‘circa £180,000’-a-year post after his predecessor Paul Gray quit in November after five years in the role. Senior civil servant pay data released in March 2018 showed Mr Gray on a salary bracket of £145,000 to £149,999, meaning Mr Wright as the new post-holder will receive an approximate 20% rise in comparative earnings. Last year, NHS Scotland staff were awarded a pay rise between 3% and 27%.

Mr Wright, who had been parachuted into the beleaguered NHS Tayside after allegations of financial mismanagement last year, had reportedly been due to retire but has now been appointed in two roles on a permanent basis following an ‘open competition’ – as Chief Executive of NHS Scotland and Director General of Health and Social Care at the Scottish Government. He will serve in the role on a fixed term contract for a period of three years, with the possibility of an extension.

He said: “It is a great honour to be appointed into this post. Scotland’s health and social care system in undergoing a significant transformation, including the integration of health and social care, an expansion of multi-disciplinary teams in primary care, and a substantial investment in mental health services.

“I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Paul Gray, who achieved so much during his time in post, and gave me some valuable help and advice before he left his position earlier in the year.

“I have been immensely privileged to spend my career working in Scotland’s health service, and I am looking forward to this new challenge, and in particular the opportunity to work with Scotland’s talented and dedicated health and care workforce.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I am very pleased to announce that Malcolm will be the new Chief Executive of NHS Scotland. With more than 40 years’ experience in a variety of roles, he brings a wealth of knowledge about what makes NHS and social care tick.

“We have worked well together during the time that he has been in post on an interim basis, and I know he shares my determination to equip our health and care system to meet the challenges of the future, and to continue delivering an excellent service for the people of Scotland.”

Mr Wright has worked in the NHS since starting as an administrative trainee at Lothian Health Board in 1975. He has worked at various health boards across Scotland, including a number of Chief Executive roles. He also held the post of Hospital Manager at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.