Should health and care professionals face fitness to practise investigations for their views on COVID-19 restrictions and vaccinations?

The Times reported that anti-lockdown activists have been encouraged to make formal complaints about doctors who are involved with National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) or support Covid-19 restrictions.

This follows a tweet by Dr Marcus De Brun, an outspoken critic of Covid-19 restrictions, saying the Irish Medical Council was “obligated to investigate complaints against registered doctors”.

The Irish Medical Council responded by saying that whilst it could not comment on individual complaints, anyone was able to make a complaint against a doctor and that the council was obliged to open a preliminary investigation in each case, the spokesman said that the council could only take action where complaints were “of a serious nature” and “raise concerns over a doctor’s fitness to practise”.

Medical Council published guidance advising doctors that they had an ethical duty to follow and promote Covid-19 public health guidelines, including hand washing, social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

He told The Times that he had shut down his GP practice in Rush, Co Dublin, after the council accused him of undermining public health advice and not maintaining social distancing after a rally against Covid-19 restrictions.

“People have the right to complain about a doctor who tells lies or who behaves badly or causes public health consequences, or consequences to patients,” he said.