Victorian doctors praise outgoing Chief Health Officer Rosemary Lester

Friday 30 January 2015
AMA Victoria thanks and bids farewell to the state’s outgoing Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester.
“Dr Lester has been an exemplary public health leader in a challenging role which demands analysing a plethora of public health issues to ensure that Victorians are protected from outbreaks and health risks,” AMA Victoria President, Dr Tony Bartone said this morning.
When commenting on her appointment in 2011, Dr Lester said: “The Chief Health Officer must balance the need of providing as much information as possible to the community in relation to significant health issues without becoming unnecessarily alarmist” – AMA Victoria congratulates Dr Lester on achieving this important balance.
The AMA has worked closely with Dr Lester on a number of public health matters and advisory groups, the most recent of which was the state’s preparedness for heatwaves. It was this time last year, during the Australian Open, that saw many Victorians become unwell with heat-related stress, many of whom needed hospital treatment. Throughout 2014, Dr Lester led a working group with health professionals to ensure that the state’s hospitals are well positioned to meet these pressures when they next arise. This highlights Dr Lester’s commitment to improve the health of Victorians both now and into the future.
When reviewing the Health Warnings and Alerts that the Department has put out over the last four years, the complexities and broadness of the Chief Health Officer role is apparent. These include warnings on: HIV infections, measles outbreaks, ‘ice’, the Ebola risk, tattoo safety and needles, Legionnaire’s disease, salmonella, algae, the Bairnsdale ulcer, mosquito-borne diseases, heat waves, vaccine suspensions and so on.
AMA Victoria wishes Dr Lester all the best in her retirement from this position, and we thank her for her steadfast dedication to public health.
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