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Hail to the chief: Premier pays tribute to the doctor who kept us safe and well

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The pressure and sleepless nights that went hand-in-hand with leading a pandemic response are almost at an end for Queensland’s outgoing chief health officer.

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Dr Jeanette Young is in her final week in the role as she prepares to become the state’s 27th Governor on Monday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk led tributes to Dr Young’s work in state parliament on Thursday, describing the burden she carried during the pandemic as “unprecedented”.

“This has meant enormous pressure, sleepless nights, and a torrent of information which she has processed calmly and clinically, with compassion and care,” she said.

“I am proud to say that, in my opinion, Dr Young has led Australia and the world in COVID health measures.”

Young steps down as Queensland’s longest-serving chief health officer after 16 years in the role.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, she campaigned for better health outcomes for issues including smoking, obesity and the flu.

“Anything from a public health perspective that improves the lives of Queenslanders – from the inner-cities to our remote indigenous communities,” Palaszczuk added.

Health minister Yvette D’Ath said the state was now in the best possible position, with low COVID-19 case numbers and no community spread, as it prepares to open it’s borders in December.

“She has taken her role extremely seriously, it has weighed heavily. She knew what the risks were in every single decision she made,” D’Ath said.

Young has previously described her successor, infectious disease doctor Krispin Hajkowicz, as “the perect person” for the role, as the state prepares for an increase in cases when the border opens.

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