Thursday, December 9

Minister denounces anti-vax GPs, but does not intervene

The Covid-19 Response Minister has denounced anti-vax GPs, but says it is up to the Medical Council to take care of them.

07102021 PHOTO: ROBERT KITCHIN / STUFF LR: Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Public Health Director Dr. Caroline McElnay brief the public in the daily Covid update at 1pm in Parliament.

Photo: POOL / Robert Kitchin

Chris Hipkins’ statements come after RNZ revealed that two Northland GP clinics do not support vaccines.

The region has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and since then a weak positive test result has proven positive after further investigation.

One of Northland’s anti-vax GPs posted a 20-minute video online about his beliefs four months ago, but he is still practicing and his Medical Board record remains intact for now.

Hipkins was asked today if he was comfortable with that.

“That is ultimately a matter for the Medical Council,” he said.

“But yes, I would expect medical professionals to adhere to the very high standards that they set for themselves as a profession, and that kind of behavior would not adhere to the standards.”

When asked if the Medical Council needed to take a stronger stand, Public Health Director Dr. Caroline McElnay said the council had “strong processes that they went through to assess situations.”

Previously, the President of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Dr Samantha Murton, said Morning report [ she was aware of the GPs’ video] and complaints have been made to the Medical Council.

But as for other anti-vax GPs, he didn’t know how many were there and what the council and the Health Professionals Disciplinary Tribunal were doing in response.

Dr. Murton said the complaint process was “very robust” and “thorough.”

“As members of all medical services across the country, we trust the Medical Council because we know they get the job done right when someone is mentioned to them.”

Meanwhile, the group New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science is asking people to share their anti-vax petition, saying it has about 35,000 signatures.

The petition has been prompted by a few dozen physicians across the country, including Whangārei’s anti-vax GPs, Dr. Damian Wojcik, the man from Northland Environmental Health who made the video speech, and Dr. Rupert Scott, who runs Horizon Health.

No practice would comment to RNZ.

Right across the parking lot from Dr. Scott’s office is Rata Family Health, a GP who offers vaccinations.

There, Dr. Paula Mathieson was visibly upset when she spoke to RNZ about vaccination rates in Te Tai Tokerau.

“I am terrified of the consequences of the low vaccination rates in our city, how it impacts the general practice. I am working to the best of my ability … And the idea of ​​being inundated with additional work fills me with dread.”

She was most concerned about those who cannot or choose not to get vaccinated.

“I cry for the patients I can lose. I cry for the people who will really feel really bad and will not be able to care for their loved ones … I cry for the potential harm my patients are going to suffer and that it really hurts.”

A Whangārei resident, Sue Magee, said that opposition to the vaccine had been a challenge within her own family, but she was hopeful that the attitudes of her loved ones would change.

“I still tell them, every week, go get vaccinated.”

And 88-year-old Bill Magee had a message for anyone who doubted.

“They don’t make a joke of these things, it’s to save lives, that’s the main thing. And everyone in New Zealand, even if the kids only say 10 or 12, give yourself the injection and don’t worry about it.”

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