Northern Ireland news

Urgent probe ordered into 'anti-vaxx' comments by out-of-hours Derry GP

Derry GP Dr Anne McCloskey. Picture by Mark Marlow
Seanín Graham

HEALTH chiefs are carrying out an "urgent investigation" into anti-vaccination comments posted by a high-profile Derry GP on social media.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) last night confirmed it is probing footage relating to Dr Anne McCloskey, who works at an out-of-hours (OOH) service in the city, following complaints from GP colleagues and members of the public about her "behaviour and conflict of interest".

A board spokeswoman warned they are taking a "very serious view", with separate internal processes ongoing.

Dr McCloskey retired in 2019 but returned to the health service last April in response to the pandemic workforce appeal.

A former member of the anti-abortion political party Aontú, the medic posted the Facebook video at the weekend after working shifts at the OOH centre in Derry - during a period when thousands of people were inoculated at walk-in centres.

Dr McCloskey claimed the majority of patients she treated were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 but presented as "sick, distressed worried and traumatised people".

She described the vaccine as an "experimental genetic therapy" and claimed that many people had been "bribed or bullied" into receiving both doses or else face the removal of their "basic human rights, such as travel and meeting friends.

And she said that the hospitals are "full" while the GP out-of-hours centre is "jammed with people testing positive and yet had two doses".

The Irish News was contacted by some doctors yesterday morning expressing concerns about the post by Dr McCloskey.

Latest figures show that 70 per cent of the north's Covid patients in ICU are unvaccinated.

Coronavirus infection rates and deaths in Northern Ireland are the highest in the UK while vaccine uptake is lowest.

When contacted, the HSCB confirmed Dr McCloskey works on a "sessional basis" for Western Urgent Care (WUC), the organisation responsible for GP Out-of-Hours Services in the western area.

"This means that she does not frequently work for the service," a board spokeswoman said.

She added: "Following her recent social media post, a number of complaints have been received from both GP colleagues and members of the public around her behaviour, comments and conflict of interest.

"The Health and Social Care Board takes a very serious view of this. Patients often turn to GPs as a source of medical advice and GPs must inspire confidence and trust in patients.

"We can confirm that the HSCB is carrying out an urgent investigation into the comments/views expressed by Dr McCloskey on social media and WUC is currently progressing with its own separate investigations and internal processes in relation to the matter."

Dr McCloskey has previously been reported to the General Medical Council over her opposition to masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which she likened in a public address in Guildhall Square last year to being as effective as "using a sheep fence to keep out mosquitos".

  • This article was amended on August 24

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