Media release - Medical Council of New Zealand
Please attribute the following comments to Dr Curtis Walker, Chair, Medical Council of New Zealand.
The Medical Council has received a number of notifications this morning about a GP who sent a text message to patients that said he does not support COVID vaccinations. Council takes this matter very seriously. We are taking immediate steps which include communicating with the doctor today. Our primary focus is public safety.
Council’s concern is demonstrated by the publication of our recent guidance (alongside the Dental and Paramedic Councils) emphasising Council’s view that there is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional practice, nor any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media and advertising by health practitioners. Council expects doctors to be aware of, and comply with, its published standards of clinical and ethical practice. It is open to Council to review a doctor’s compliance with its standards whenever it has reason to consider a doctor is failing to do so.
If a doctor is not complying with the standards set by Council, there are a number of options available to Council which in the most serious cases can include suspension or placing conditions on a doctor’s practice to protect the public from harm and referring the notification to a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) for further investigation.
All investigations are carried out by a PCC which is a separate independent body to the Medical Council. It is the PCC which determines whether or not charges will be laid with the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT). The HPDT hears and determines disciplinary proceedings brought against health practitioners, including deciding what sanctions should be put in place.
20 August 2021