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Derry GP suspended over comments on Covid-19 vaccines

The GP shared a video that prompted complaints of conflict of interest from GPs and members of the public.

Image: Shutterstock/FotoDuets

Updated Aug 24th 2021, 7:34 PM

NORTHERN IRELAND’S HEALTH and Social Care Board (HSCB) said it has suspended a Derry GP following comments she made about the Covid-19 vaccine. 

A video appeared online in which she commented on the Covid-19 vaccines after treating patients at an out-of-hours clinic.

This video prompted complaints of an alleged conflict of interest from GPs and members of the public.

Dr Anne McCloskey shared a video on Saturday online in which she claimed that after coming in from her shift at an out-of-hours GP clinic, “I dealt with very many sick, distressed, worried, traumatised people, almost all of them, with the exception of small children, have been double jabbed [with] an experimental genetic therapy”.

McCloskey went on to claim that vaccinated young people she treated at the weekend were sick because they were “damaged” as a result of being vaccinated.

“…This whole hype has largely been a figment of the media, and the government and their lying scientific advisors and their deceptions,” McCloskey claimed.

In a statement today to BBC Northern Ireland, the HSCB said Dr McCloskey had been suspended. 

“The HSCB can confirm that it has suspended Dr McCloskey as a precautionary measure while it undertakes a full investigation regarding complaints and concerns raised against this doctor.

“Suspension is not an automatic occurrence when undertaking an investigation but may be necessary where there are concerns regarding patient safety and in the public interest.

“Dr McCloskey is not free to work for HSC organisations during her suspension.”

Speaking to BBC News NI today, McCloskey said she stands by her comments about the vaccines. She told Talkback that her views are not misinformation.

Northern Ireland is recording its highest rates of new cases of Covid-19 since January. 

The region is estimated to have given a first jab to 68% of 18 to 29-year-olds, compared with 71% in England, 73% in Scotland and 76% in Wales.

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Complaints

Following McCloskey’s recent social media post, a number of complaints were sent to the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), which the HSCB said were from both GP colleagues and members of the public “around her behaviour, comments and conflict of interest”.

McCloskey, who is a retired GP and a former Aontú councillor, has attended anti-lockdown demonstrations in the North and in Cork in recent months. McCloskey resigned as the party’s deputy leader in October after disagreeing on Covid-19 policy.

The HSCB confirmed that McCloskey works on a ‘sessional’ basis for Western Urgent Care, which is the organisation responsible for GP out-of-hours services in the western area, but does not frequently work for the service.

Northern Ireland’s rate of new cases currently stands at 579.5 per 100,000 people, the highest since 8 January.

Fermanagh and Omagh in the south-west of Northern Ireland has the highest rate of any local authority in the UK, with a total of 1,003.9 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days to 18 August.

Northern Ireland has just held a ‘Big Jab Weekend’ in an attempt to encourage people to come forward for their first dose, with health officials saying at least 8,000 vaccinations were delivered over the past two days.

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