Retirement of Chief Medical Officer

The Secretary of the federal Department of Health, Martin Bowles, has announced that Professor Chris Baggoley will retire as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on July 15.

Page last updated: 13 July 2016

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13 July 2016

The Secretary of the federal Department of Health, Martin Bowles, today announced that Professor Chris Baggoley will retire as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on July 15.

“Since Professor Baggoley was appointed by the Department to this key role in April 2011 he has been an influential figure in the nation’s response to numerous challenges and threats to our health,” Mr Bowles said.

“In particular, he has been outstanding in progressing the nation’s response to antimicrobial resistance, vaccine preventable disease, the risk of new communicable diseases, and improved screening and early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases such as cancer.

“In addition to leading Australia’s response to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2014, Professor Baggoley made a significant contribution to the international response as a member of the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola which provided advice throughout 2014-15 to the WHO Director General.

“Over the past three years of ongoing international concern with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) Professor Baggoley has not only supervised Australia’s monitoring of MERS but has also led the international effort to minimise the threat from this disease as chair of the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on MERS from 2013 to the present.

“Most recently, he has supervised Australia’s response to, and preparedness for, Zika virus.”

Mr Bowles said Professor Baggoley has also been central to the achievement of both legislation and cooperative frameworks to improve the nation’s defences against and response to health emergencies.

These included:

    • The first National Framework for Communicable Disease Control was endorsed by Australian Health Ministers in 2013-14, bringing together governments, agencies and committees to support an integrated national public health response to communicable disease threats.
    • The National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy, released in June 2015, takes a OneHealth approach which recognises that human, animal and ecosystem health are inextricably linked.
    • The Biosecurity Act 2015 replaced the 1908 Quarantine Act, providing a flexible and responsive law which can adapt to changes in technology and future challenges.
“I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Professor Brendan Murphy as Australia’s new CMO who will take up the position from 4 October 2016,” Mr Bowles said.

“Professor Murphy is an experienced clinician but also highly experienced in stakeholder management, strategic direction-setting and policy advice.

“He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria since 2005. He is also a Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Independent Chair of Health Services Innovation Tasmania.

“Professor Murphy is also a former deputy Chair of Health Workforce Australia and a former President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology.”

Mr Bowles said he had also appointed Dr Tony Hobbs to the new role of Deputy CMO.

Dr Hobbs will be acting CMO until Professor Murphy takes up his appointment.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, 0412 132 585

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