Chris Baggoley retires as Australia’s chief medical officer

By on 14/07/2016 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Professor Chris Baggoley will retire as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer on July 15

Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Baggoley is retiring today after five years in the role.

Martin Bowles, the department’s most senior public servant, said that since Baggoley was appointed, “he has been an influential figure in the nation’s response to numerous challenges and threats to our health: 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.”

Bowles added that as well as “leading Australia’s response to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, 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),” Bowles said, 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 Baggoley had also been central to the achievement of both legislation and cooperative frameworks to improve the nation’s defences against and response to health emergencies; the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy, which “takes a OneHealth approach which recognises that human, animal and ecosystem health are inextricably linked;” and the Biosecurity Act 2015 which replaced the 1908 Quarantine Act, “providing a flexible and responsive law which can adapt to changes in technology and future challenges.”

Baggoley will be succeeded by hospital chief Professor Brendan Murphy, who is also 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.

Murphy, who has been leading the Austin Health hospital in Victoria since 2005, will start his new job on 4 October this year.

Until then, the role of government CMO will be filled by Dr Tony Hobbs who is currently principal medical adviser to Mark Cormack, deputy secretary for strategic policy and innovation at the Department of Health.

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

“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.”

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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