CHIEF executive of NHS Scotland Paul Gray is to step down in February, it was announced today.

Mr Gray, who is also the Director General of Health and Social Care for the Scottish Government, will leave both roles in February 2019.

He has been in post since December 2013.

The Scottish Government confirmed that Mr Gray will be replaced on an interim basis from February by Malcolm Wright, who is the former chief executive of NHS Grampian and the current chief executive at NHS Tayside.

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Mr Wright was parachuted in to the troubled health board in April this year in the wake of a row over its use of charity funds for general spending.

The scandal saw Tayside's previous chief executive, Lesley McLay, removed from the post.

Mr Wright was already due to retire at the end of this year. 

The Scottish Government said a full external competition will take place to recruit a permanent successor to Mr Gray.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman also confirmed that Grant Archibald will take over from Mr Wright as chief executive of NHS Tayside.

HeraldScotland: Malcolm Wright will take over on an interim basis from Mr Gray

Mr Archibald has worked for NHS Scotland for 34 years and held a series of senior posts, most recently as chief operating officer for Acute Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

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Ms Freeman said: “Paul Gray has been an excellent Chief Executive of the NHS in Scotland and Director General of Health and Social Care.

"Amongst his many achievements in this role, which was just the most recent in a long and distinguished career in public service, Paul oversaw the integration of health and social care services, which is the most significant change to our health system since the creation of the NHS.

“Paul will remain in post until February, continuing to lead health boards throughout the winter months.

"I would like to offer him my sincere and personal thanks for his work over the last five years, and my best wishes for the future contribution I know he will make.

“I look forward to working with Malcolm Wright, who brings a wealth of senior management experience to the role.

“I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Grant Archibald as Chief Executive of NHS Tayside.

"He also has a strong background with more than 30 years of experience in the health service, including a number of senior roles.”

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HeraldScotland: Grant Archibald will take over at NHS Tayside

Commenting on his appointment to NHS Tayside, Mr Archibald said: “I am delighted and proud to have been appointed to this important post and am looking forward to getting on with the job of continuing to build a really bright future for health and social care services in the region.

“I know that the staff in Tayside do amazing things every day both in communities and in our hospitals and it is now my job to make sure that they can keep making a difference to patients, service users and their families.

“Health and social care services are changing across the country and I look forward to the opportunity of working with my staff and partner organisations to deliver quality services for the population.

"I want Tayside to be at the forefront of designing better, more joined-up pathways of care from home to hospital and back home again, so that everyone can benefit from improved outcomes and better health and wellbeing.”