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Murupara GP to be suspended pending further investigation

Author
Rotorua Daily Post,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jan 2022, 3:54pm

Murupara GP to be suspended pending further investigation

Author
Rotorua Daily Post,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jan 2022, 3:54pm

Murupara GP, Doctor Bernard Conlon says he has received notification from the Medical Council of New Zealand that it intends to suspend him ahead of the investigation into the various complaints laid against him. 

A complaint was first made against Conlon after he made public comments questioning informed consent in pregnant women and children at a Māori health hui in August. 

Further complaints about Conlon's professional conduct were made to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins by an unnamed junior doctor. 

The complaints have since been forwarded to the Medical Council. 

Among the accusations are that he labelled patient notes of people who have had the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as "becoming magnetic", which Conlon described to the Whakatane Beacon as "baffIing". 

He said the words "becoming magnetic" did appear on one patient's notes, but only because that patient described and demonstrated to him that they were able to stick coins to their stomach six weeks after receiving the Pfizer vaccine and telling him that they were becoming magnetic. 

"I have the less usual trait of believing my patients when they present with unusual symptoms," he said. 

He has also been accused of celebrating when he heard the news that Murupara had the lowest vaccination rates in New Zealand. 

Conlon has applied for a practice exemption to allow unvaccinated staff to continue to work at the Murupara Medical Centre. As well as himself and partner Dr Britta Noske being unvaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, he said three of the practice's receptionists and one nurse had also opted not to get it. 

"As employers, we value our staff and have reconfigured the surgery to allow ongoing employment for all, while still excluding the non-vaccinated from patient contact as per the Covid-19 order. I find the jab or your job policy, frankly, repugnant," he said. 

Conlon said he had "acquired unpopularity" for openly speaking out against mandatory vaccination, and that he had further irritated the Ministry of Health for attempting to import ivermectin – "hoping to then make it available for free to my high-risk patients when they are infected with Covid-19". 

Conlon has also filed a case in the Rotorua District Court seeking a judicial review of a Medsafe decision to confiscate a consignment of ivermectin he was importing for his patients. 

"Three days after making a legitimate legal challenge to Medsafe's decision to take possession of my ivermectin, the Ministry of Health laid a further complaint against me to the Medical Council – for unprofessional behaviour. 

"Then, just before Christmas, I received notification from the Medical Council that they intended to suspend me ahead of the investigation into the various complaints, for the safety of the New Zealand public." 

Conlon said he had submitted his opposition to this proposal on Tuesday this week but held no real hope that it would be reversed. "I plan to appeal at the district court level and hope a more just decision is achieved." 

The Medical Council declined to comment citing privacy issues. 

- By Diane McCarthy, RDP