UK Doctors Who Question Vaccines, Lockdowns Could Lose Careers Under New Medical Council Proposals

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Medical professionals registered with the General Medical Council would be subject to disciplinary action for sharing information on COVID-19 and lockdowns considered 'misinformation' under new proposals by the regulatory body

Doctors in the U.K. face losing their careers if they post information regarding the COVID jabs to their social media profiles deemed "misleading" or as "misinformation" following new regulations set to be introduced by the professional regulator.

A draft policy from Britain's General Medical Council (GMC) targets open criticism of government-mandated lockdowns and skepticism regarding vaccination campaigns for medical personnel, threatening individuals with being struck off by the council if their comments on those topics are judged as not "honest" or "to mislead" the public.

The GMC's Good Medical Practice guidelines, considered by some as the modern-day "Hippocratic Oath," now includes a draft requiring medics to "be honest and trustworthy, make clear the limits of their knowledge [and] make reasonable checks to make sure any information given is not misleading," including information spread on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

"This applies to all forms of written, spoken and digital communication," the draft guidance informs.

The proposed change to communications guidance marks the first major alteration to the medical watchdog's policy since 2013. The proposals require doctors to speak out against "toxic" situations in the workplace and warn that professionals who "abuse, discriminate against, bully, exploit, or harass anyone, or condone such behaviour by others" will be subject to disciplinary action.

"This applies to all interactions, including on social media and networking sites," the draft reads, while enforcing strict rules on the dissemination of information on social media. The proposals will be put out for consultation before being implemented into the regulations.

Infractions against the GMC's good practice guide can result in a range of sanctions being imposed on medical professionals, including the possibility of being removed from the register, essentially ending their ability to practice.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said that good medical practice "is the bedrock that helps guide ethical practice and supports doctors to provide the best possible care in a world of increasingly complex medicine," the Telegraph reported.

Characterizing the intention behind the updated guidance as "relevant and helpful to medical professionals," Massey said the GMC hopes the proposed regulations will "benefit patients, now and for years ahead."

"There is a lot of evidence of the damage bad workplace cultures can do to patient safety and, ultimately, to the UK's ability to retain the healthcare professionals it needs," he said, adding that "[t]oxic cultures can also spread online, undermining public trust in the medical profession."

However, the judgement of the GMC's Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has been called into question after a judge ruled that impositions placed by the GMC on a family doctor who said on Twitter that face masks are of no benefit against the spread of COVID-19 were an "error of law."

Dr. Samuel White had shared on his social media profiles that he found it difficult to work in the National Health Service (NHS) due to the "vast" extent of "lies" surrounding the coronavirus crisis and related government and public health policies.

After questioning the safety of the COVID jabs and the efficacy of face masks in comments on both Twitter and Instagram, White allegedly ran afoul of the GMC's information policy and was subjected to a media blackout, with the medical watchdog forcing him to remove all his posts on COVID and to refrain from creating any new ones as a condition of his registration.

The MPTS determined that White's views "may have a real impact on patient safety" and said that he ought to have provided "a holistic consideration of COVID-19, its implications and possible treatments."

White took to Instagram on December 3 last year after winning his case in the High Court against the GMC's decision, telling his followers that "the orders placed on me breached my human rights, including my right to be a part of a debate on what's going on at the moment."

The judge determined that the decision of the tribunal was a "clear misdirection" and was therefore "wrong and cannot stand."

After losing its case against White, Massey said the GMC has received "feedback that doctors want more clarity on using social media."

"We are already clear that doctors must be honest and trustworthy in their communications, and are now emphasising that this applies to all forms of communication. The principles remain the same whether the communication is written, spoken or via social media," the executive stated.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Sayer Ji
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