On the 26th June, the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon carried out her most extensive reshuffle since taking over from Alex Salmond in 2014. The reshuffle saw the appointment of five new cabinet secretaries, the total number of which has increased from ten to twelve, and nine new junior ministers.
The most high-profile departure from the SNP cabinet was the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, who resigned on the day of the reshuffle. Robison had first been appointed Minister for Public Health in 2007, after which she became Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport in 2011, a position she held until her appointment as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in 2014.
Despite overseeing increased health spending and a record number of NHS Scotland employees, the latter part of Robison’s tenure as Health Secretary was marred by controversy over a funding crisis at NHS Tayside, which prompted accusations of insufficient financial oversight of NHS boards, and the suicide of a man refused admission to a mental health centre.
Her replacement, Jeane Freeman MSP, was until March 2016 the Chair of the National Waiting Times Centre Board, a special health board that runs the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. Elected to Holyrood at the 2016 elections, Freeman had held the position of Minister for Social Security until her move to health.
The reshuffle also saw the replacement of both junior health ministers, with Joe Fitzpatrick MSP replacing Aileen Campbell MSP as the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, and Clare Haughey MSP replacing Maureen Watt MSP as Minister for Mental Health.