11 February 2011
Jersey's Medical Officer of Health Dr Rosemary Geller, will retire due to ill-health it has been announced.
Following a long period of illness, Dr Geller, who joined the Health and Social Services department in 2005, will formally retire from her post later this year. Her departure is not part of the States-wide voluntary redundancy scheme.
Before coming to Jersey with her family to lead the Public Health Department, Dr Geller was based in Shropshire where she was Director of Public Health and Health Strategy. She was elected President of the National Association of Directors of Public Health in 1998 and additionally as West Midlands Regional Adviser for Public Health from 1999.
Dr Geller has been medically signed off, since late 2010, with a health complaint relating to a chronic back condition. During this time, the role of Medical Officer of Health has been taken on by Dr Geller's deputy, Dr Susan Turnbull, who will carry on in this capacity whilst longer term plans for the running of the department are being developed.
The duties of the Medical Officer of Health include recommending how to improve the health of the population of Jersey, protect them from infectious diseases and environmental hazards and develop high quality health services for the island. The Department of the Medical Officer of Health also runs contraceptive clinics and stop-smoking clinics and advises schools and the community about how to stay healthy through healthy lifestyles.
Speaking about Dr Geller's retirement, Health and Social Services Minister Anne Pryke said "Rosemary has done a wonderful job of leading the Public Health department through some high-profile and challenging issues, in particular, the swine flu epidemic of 2009. She was also instrumental in publishing annual reports on the health issues facing Jersey.
"She has been, both for colleagues within HSSD and the wider public, the face and voice of many topical health issues. It is a high-profile and demanding role. We have welcomed her views and expertise, and thank her for the enormous amount of work she has put in with her team in to this essential department. Public Health is a busy and valuable Department whose work benefits all Islanders. I am sad to announce Dr Geller's retirement due to ill-health, but she can be proud of all she has achieved, and I wish her and her family the very best for the future."
Deputy Pryke added "I would also like to thank Dr Susan Turnbull for the job she has done leading the department in the interim."
Dr Geller said "It has been a privilege to be Jersey's Medical Officer of Health and it is with sadness that I am leaving the job I love due to my health. I have great affection for the Island and thank Islanders for the warm welcome they have given to me and my family. Thank you also to all those have worked so positively with me over the years, together achieving worthwhile improvements to the island's health profile."