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Resignation of Professor Brendan Murphy

Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care, whose resignation has been announced today, will be long remembered as the person who helped to steer Australia through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Professor Trent Twomey, said Professor Murphy had faced unprecedented challenges during his time as head of the department and leading the COVID-19 response.

“This was a time when the country, and indeed the world, was trying to grapple with this virus which kept evolving, leaving them with few, if any, precedents to follow,” Professor Twomey said.

“It was a time when hard decisions had to be made and Professor Murphy did not flinch in doing what he felt was right and appropriate.

”Professor Murphy also faced the dynamic of the tyranny of distance which presented supply chain issues in sourcing much-needed COVID-19 vaccinations, rapid antigen tests and other medicines and supplies needed to help combat the pandemic.

“He was unwavering in his commitment to protect the communities throughout Australia as best he could.”

Professor Twomey said the Pharmacy Guild had worked closely with Professor Murphy and the department in negotiating for pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccines.

“We knew that being the most accessible healthcare professionals meant we could make a very significant contribution to protecting Australians against the virus,” he said.

“After some hesitancy, community pharmacies were brought into the vaccination rollout and today have administered nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Professor Murphy also leaves a legacy of having pivoted the Department of Health and Ageing to deal with the pandemic, while also ensuring business as usual programs were maintained. “I wish Professor Murphy a happy retirement and congratulate him on his achievements.”

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