National Clinical Director Jason Leitch has stepped down from his role, following controversy over his WhatsApp messages and the handling of the Covid pandemic by the Scottish Government.

The former dentist shot to national attention during lockdown, when he would regularly appear to give updates on the situation.

Here's what you need to know about the man who announced his departure on Tuesday.

Read More: Downfall of a dentist - the controversies which preceded Jason Leitch's exit

Born on October 25, 1968 to an office manager and a coal miner, Mr Leitch attended Airdrie Academy before studying dentistry at the University of Glasgow.

The 55-year-old also did a Masters in public health at Harvard University in 2006, the year prior to joining the Scottish Government.

Initially working as the National Clinical Lead for Safety and Improvement, Mr Leitch took on a number of other roles within Holyrood and was part of the team which implemented the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, a national initiative to improve the reliability of healthcare.

In 2015 he was made national clinical director, and came to wider public attention during the Covid pandemic - particularly after chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood stepped down.

While Mr Leitch was not her replacement he was seen, along with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as the public face of Scotland's Covid response.

He appeared weekly on BBC Radio Scotland's Off The Ball football programme, giving updates both on the pandemic and the attendant restrictions.

Read More: Jason Leitch quits as National Clinical Director following Covid WhatsApp scandal

Mr Leitch said in 2022: "The real public health professionals know I’m pretending to be a public health guy. I’m a surgeon! But we needed a front man; somebody who could communicate."

Initially both the Scottish Government and the UK Government opted not to restrict mass gatherings or shut down schools, with the national clinical director saying on March 16 of 2020 that his wife had attended a Stereophonics concert and "I would have gone myself".

There was later frustration around the slow easing of restrictions, notably among football fans and other attendees of large outdoor events.

Speaking on Off The Ball about the decision to impose new restrictions limiting crowds to 500 in December 2021, Mr Leitch admitted the cap wasn't based on any modelling but "you have to draw the line somewhere".

He has also come under fire in recent weeks in the wake of the Covid inquiry, having admitted that deleting WhatsApp messages - discoverable under Freedom of Information - was a "pre-bed ritual".

In messages which were recovered from other people, Mr Leitch appeared to advise the now First Minister Humza Yousaf on how to get around government rules on face masks, while criticising both Labour and Conservative MSPs.

Mr Leitch has said that he will now take a break before looking for "new challenges across health and care".

He also stated that he would be looking to spend more time with the charities he works with.

Mr Leitch is on the board of the Nazareth Trust, which runs a hospital and nursing school in Northern Israel, and the Indian Rural Evangelical Fellowship which runs an orphanage, college and nursing school in rural south-east India.