There have been 23 complaints about doctors spreading anti-vaccination misinformation to the Medical Council, as the group says it has “zero tolerance” for anti-vaccine positions.
Yesterday it was reported that anti-vax GPs were hampering the deployment in Northland, where an essential worker tested positive for Covid-19.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins denounced anti-vax GPs but said it was the Medical Council that should take care of them.
The Chairman of the Medical Council, Dr. Curtis Walker, said Morning report Friday “I can’t talk about individual cases or individual notifications, but what I can say is that we exist largely on behalf of the public to ensure that physicians practice safely at all times and our first concern is to protect public safety. “
The council had “zero tolerance for anti-vaccination messages,” he said.
“We will consider all concerns and notifications made to the council.
“We will examine the circumstances of what a doctor has said or done, we will carefully consider their responses, for example, if they will not do it again, or if they will not post more videos or disclose more misinformation.
“If that’s the kind of answer, we take a kind of satisfied or educational type of approach, and a ‘never do it again’ approach.
“If people are going to persist and spread this information, then we will consider taking additional action.”
Walker said the council had “received the number of notifications about doctors, including people from Northland.”
The council expected physicians to act according to expected standards at all times, Walker said.
“Our standard around this is that any advice given around vaccination must be evidence-based and informed by experts, and the medical evidence is that vaccination is safe, effective, and overwhelmingly backed by evidence. healthy, and without a doubt the best way to predict our whānau and communities from this pandemic.
“So that’s the evidence-based advice that we hope clinicians will provide.”
Walker said doctors spreading misinformation about vaccines was a “very small part of the medical profession.”
The council had received notifications about 23 individual physicians.
“I am pleased to say that despite the noise, distraction and damage that some doctors can do, it is a very small part of the medical profession – we just received a very small number of notifications, in contrast to the many thousands of doctors and frontline healthcare workers vaccinating, providing healthcare and leading New Zealand’s public health response.
“I also take note of the thousands of doctors who recently stood up publicly to encourage and support vaccination.”
The complaint review process involved reviews called professional conduct committees.
Walker said the council aimed to “get them up and running and classify them in about six months, a decision in six months, and that decision may involve a charge with healthcare professionals in a disciplinary court.”
When asked if that period of time was too long, Walker said: “What I will say is that at all stages the public is protected. So if we see that the conduct or practice of a doctor or misinformation is causing harm, in these cases we will institute measures such as requesting or requiring that the doctor stop what he is doing and that may include suspending a doctor while investigations are carried out so that the public is protected as we move forward with the cases. “