Queensland has resumed the search for a new health director as it moves into a phase of life with the coronavirus after the doctor who was due to start on Monday turned down the post.
The government said in a brief statement that Dr Krispin Hajkowicz would no longer assume the role of chief public health adviser, for “personal reasons,” and had requested confidentiality.
It comes as Jeannette Young, who resigned as chief medical officer of health on Sunday, was due to be sworn in as governor of Queensland on Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said on Friday that Hajkowicz’s decision was “unexpected”.
â€œWe are very well served by our assistant CHOs, as well as the very important team around them,â€ said Miles.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken will assume this role and the state has appointed additional deputy support positions until a permanent replacement is found.
In recent months, Dr Peter Aitken, Dr Lynne McKinlay and Dr James Smith have taken on the roles of Deputy Chief Health Officer to support the transition.
â€œI think that will really justify the decision we made to have multiple assistant directors of health,â€ Miles said.
â€œThere are now huge teams behind them and so there are a lot of people who know the systems, the know-how to provide advice, to make it all work, so I think that will be fine. “
The Queensland border is due to open just before Christmas for those vaccinated, when the state is expected to have 80% of its population over 16 fully vaccinated.
Although starting November 19, fully vaccinated people flying around the state and undertaking a 14-day home quarantine will be able to enter if they receive a negative test result 72 hours in advance.
During this time, $ 180 million package will help general practitioners treat COVID-19 patients at home.
Doctors will receive a $ 25 Medicare premium for face-to-face treatment of a COVID-positive or suspected COVID-positive patient, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
â€œThere is a bonus for them to see patients face to face and recognize the additional costs of cleaning and other items,â€ Hunt said.
The government also uses some of the money to buy pulse oximeters, which give an oxygen reading that can show when a patient is starting to deteriorate.
Additional support for nurses to make home visits and general medicine respiratory clinics to keep functioning are also included in the package.
â€œIf you are at home COVID positive you will continue to receive your medication and you may not need to extend your scripts with an additional visit to the doctor. You can have them extended as of right in such a circumstance, â€Hunt said.
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