10 Feb 2022

Covid-19: Anti-vaccine Murupara GP suspended pending further investigation

6:49 am on 10 February 2022

For the first time, the Medical Council has confirmed an anti-vax Murupara GP has been suspended.

Murupara Medical Centre

Murupara Medical Centre. Photo: Screenshot / Google Street View

Dr Bernard Conlon has pushed anti-vax views on the Murupara Medical Centre's Facebook page for months, calling the vaccine "a gene therapy injection".

A junior doctor wrote to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins late last year, concerned that Conlon was describing vaccinated patients as "magnetic" in recorded notes.

In a statement, the Medical Council's chair Dr Curtis Walker (Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Porou) said the GP "has been suspended pending investigation".

"Council's primary purpose is to ensure that doctors are competent and fit to practice, to ensure the health and safety of New Zealanders and we take these matters very seriously."

Conlon had already told patients in a Facebook post earlier this month, that the suspension was coming but the Medical Council would not comment at the time.

Chairperson of the Combined Medical Staff Executive group, Curtis Walker.

Chairperson of the Combined Medical Staff Executive group, Dr Curtis Walker. Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

In the post, he said the decision was "disappointing and frustrating to fathom" and the future of the Murupara Medical Centre was "uncertain".

Meanwhile, a Wellington psychiatrist who promoted anti-vax views in multiple videos online has withdrawn his appeal, against a Medical Council suspension.

Dr Emanuel Garcia was stopped from practising last December pending an investigation for anti-vax messaging, as were fellow doctors Peter Canaday and Matthew Shelton.

All three were going to appeal their suspensions, but Garcia has withdrawn his.

The other two doctors will argue their case in the Wellington District Court later this month.

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