Brendan Murphy to finish as chief medical officer in June after advising on coronavirus response

Chief medical officer, professor Brendan Murphy, will finish up in the role in June. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Chief medical officer, professor Brendan Murphy, will finish up in the role in June. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The federal government's chief medical adviser during the COVID-19 pandemic will depart the role in a month.

Professor Brendan Murphy will become secretary of the Health Department on July 13, a role he was about to start earlier this year when the coronavirus crisis began to escalate and forced him to remain chief medical officer.

The Health Department said on Friday afternoon Professor Murphy would begin his new appointment and finish his role as the main medical adviser for the federal government.

His departure from the role will follow the nation's significant reduction in new coronavirus cases through social distancing restrictions and border closures.

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Professor Murphy has become one of Australia's best-known bureaucrats after months advising the national cabinet and appearing regularly with Prime Minister Scott Morrison at press conferences to announce the extraordinary measures to contain the virus.

He provided updates to the national cabinet, and the public, on the spread of COVID-19 and Australia's progress lowering the daily number of new infections.

His new role will still involve him in the nation's health response to the pandemic. The Health Department runs the national incident room in Canberra monitoring and responding to the crisis, and has advised the public on the virus since the room was activated in January.

Professor Murphy's deputy, Professor Paul Kelly, will be acting chief medical officer from June 29, until a permanent successor is appointed to the role.

Caroline Edwards, who has acted as departmental secretary during the pandemic, will stay on as associate secretary starting on August 10 after a three-week break.

She took over leadership of the Health Department from its former secretary Glenys Beauchamp, who retired earlier this year after a 21-year career in the Australian Public Service.

Ms Edwards was on a temporary transfer to Health from her role as a deputy secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which she started in November.

This story Brendan Murphy to finish as chief medical officer in June first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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