Michael Matheson, member of Scottish Parliament and former cabinet secretary for transport, has been appointed as the next Scottish health secretary.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Scotland has said called on Mr Matheson to make use of pharmacists, who they say have a 'huge amount' to offer his agenda of NHS recovery.

On Wednesday, new first minister Humza Yousaf announced that Mr Matheson would become cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care, pending approval by parliament.

In taking up the role, Mr Matheson will be filling in the position formerly occupied by Mr Yousaf, who played a large role in successfully negotiating a pay settlement for NHS staff in Scotland while health secretary.

Laura Wilson, Director of RPS Scotland, congratulated the new health secretary on his appointment.

She said: 'NHS recovery is vitally important, and pharmacy has a huge amount to offer this agenda.

'Our current priorities include enabling pharmacists to take leadership of prescribing in all care settings, tackling health inequalities and advocating for change, implementing shared patient records between healthcare professionals to provide high-quality, person centred and safe patient care, improving pharmacists’ wellbeing and tackling the climate emergency by encouraging sustainable and green prescribing across Scotland.

'I look forward to working with Michael Matheson in his new role to advance all of these issues, for the benefit of pharmacists, patients and our environment.'

Mr Matheson was elected to Holyrood in 2007 as the MSP for Falkirk West for the Scottish National Party. He was subsequently made minister for public health in 2011, supporting Nicola Sturgeon while she served as health secretary.

Since then, Mr Matheson has also been appointed to the positions of justice secretary, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, and most recently cabinet secretary for net zero, energy, and transport under Nicola Sturgeon.

Before election to Holyrood Mr Matheson worked for eight years as an occupational therapist.

A version of this article first appeared on our sister publication, Nursing in Practice.