Dr Anne McCloskey (66) had previously been suspended in 2021, and that has now been extended.
A General Medical Council (GMC) tribunal held in Manchester has now ruled on her fitness to practice in the wake of her sceptical public messaging around the Covid-19 virus during the pandemic.
The tribunal found the GP and former Aontú councillor for Derry City and Strabane District Council had displayed serious misconduct during a number of publications made during the pandemic.
These included a Facebook video, an appearance on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme and a Twitter broadcast video entitled The Healthy Debate, during which the tribunal found she had “used her position as a doctor to promote her opinion”.
Though Dr McCloskey was not present to provide submissions, the tribunal considered a bundle of documents presented to them by her.
A solicitor for the GMC, Mr Kitching KC, described Dr McCloskey’s words within the publications as “ominous, inflammatory, vitriolic and alarmist”, adding that the medic had “no insight into her misconduct” and that “no efforts had been made to remediate the misconduct”.
He added that the likelihood of her repeating her misconduct remained “very high”.
The tribunal found Dr McCloskey’s actions had the potential to undermine public health information, undermine public confidence in the medical profession and discourage the public from having a Covid-19 vaccination.
It was noted that the doctor may have felt she was acting in respect of patient safety when raising concerns about the vaccine, but that her actions went “beyond what was expected”.
The tribunal found Dr McCloskey had shown poor judgment, shown no awareness of how her behaviour could adversely impact the public, and that she was “forcing her own opinion on the general public”.
They said her actions could have had “serious repercussions” and said members of the medical profession would find her conduct “serious and deplorable”.
Finding her actions amounted to misconduct, the tribunal further ruled Dr McCloskey’s fitness to practice was currently impaired.
Taking into account her lengthy career of approximately 40 years without misconduct issues and that there had been no further allegations of similar behaviour over the last two years, the tribunal imposed a six-month suspension on her registration.
They added that the onus would be on Dr McCloskey to demonstrate how she has “remediated and developed insight into her actions” at the review hearing.
Dr McCloskey continues to face court proceedings next month in relation to alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations.Tags: