Medical officer of health to retire at end of month

JERSEY’S medical officer of health, Dr Susan Turnbull, is to retire at the end of the month after serving the Island for the past 14 years.

Dr Susan Turnbull
Dr Susan Turnbull

Dr Turnbull moved to Jersey in 2006 and was appointed as the Island’s most senior public health official in 2011.

She qualified as a doctor in 1981 at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School and has worked as both a GP and a hospital doctor.

In the 1990s she served in the UK Department of Health as national medical policy lead on blood-borne viruses. Before moving to the Island, she was director of public health for Bournemouth.

During her time in Jersey she has steered the Island through various public-health threats, including the swine flu pandemic of 2009, and the emergence of so-called legal highs, which began to surge in popularity from 2008.

Dr Turnbull, who has been in public service for almost 40 years and plans to move back to the UK after her retirement, also developed new immunisation programmes for the Island and drove forward initiatives such as the bowel cancer screening programme.

She said: ‘I’ve had a wonderful, varied career and have been privileged to serve the Island for the past 14 years. I’ll miss Jersey greatly, but now is the right time to focus on family and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wonderful grandchildren.

‘I’m confident that the Island remains in safe hands with the expert advice of Dr Ivan Muscat and the medical leadership of Mr Patrick Armstrong to help steer our health services.’

Work to recruit a replacement will begin shortly. In the interim, Dr Muscat will continue to undertake the duties of the medical officer of health in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

An interim director of public health will also be appointed to focus on the wider wellbeing aspects related to the pandemic and to support the development of the Jersey Care Model.

Health Minister Richard Renouf said: ‘I’d like to thank Dr Turnbull for her dedicated service to the Island and commend all her work over the years, notably bringing public health ideology to the centre of government thinking and shaping our strategy. Quite rightly, we now prioritise health and wellbeing across all government policy and planning.

‘I am sure the five former Health Ministers with whom she has also worked very closely will join me in commending her invaluable service to the people of Jersey and wish her a most enjoyable and well-deserved retirement.’

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