For decades the reports provided insight into the island’s public health over the previous 12 months and contained recommendations for improvement.
They disappeared after the 115th annual report was published early in 2015. That was a year after an annual report provoked a row in the States about the role of the medical officer of health, a role since subsumed by that of the director of Public Health.
Dr Nicola Brink, who was appointed medical officer of health in 2018, said the reports were ‘very important’ and she intended to begin publishing them again in the first half of each year.
‘After Dr Brink’s appointment, her first medical officer of health report was scheduled to be produced in 2020, by which time we were focused on the Covid pandemic response,’ said the Health & Social Care Committee.
‘The publication of any medical officer of health reports was paused throughout the entirety of the Covid pandemic.
‘The public health team is now able to focus back on business as usual and the first medical officer of health report from Dr Brink is scheduled for publication later this year.’
The most-recent annual report – for the period 2013/14 – was written by Dr Brink’s predecessor, Dr Stephen Bridgman.
In May 2014 his annual report led to an amendment for a review of the role of medical officer of health, submitted by then treasury lead Deputy Gavin St Pier.
That review was approved, but only after a heated debate during which some deputies claimed that the motive of the proposed review was to curtail the medical officer of health’s willingness to be independent and outspoken.