Dr. Mary McCloskey, a GP based in Londonderry, has been suspended for six months following a series of controversial comments she made about Covid-19 and vaccines.
Dr. McCloskey previously had an unblemished professional medical record and served as a GP Principal at the Racecourse Medical Group from 1990 to 2018.
During a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing held last month, it was revealed that Dr. McCloskey made statements in videos uploaded online between August and November 2021. She claimed that the pandemic was a fabrication perpetuated by the media and the government. Additionally, she asserted that Covid vaccines were not effective and were causing harm rather than providing protection.
Dr. McCloskey also alleged that tests and face masks were being used as psychological tools to instill fear, and she criticized the naming of Covid variants, suggesting that experts were mocking the public.
In one of her most inflammatory statements, Dr. McCloskey raised concerns about parents being urged to vaccinate their children, suggesting it could potentially harm them more than protect them.
The MPTS determined that Dr. McCloskey’s comments had the potential to undermine public health information, erode confidence in the medical profession, and discourage people from getting vaccinated. While acknowledging Dr. McCloskey’s right to freedom of expression, the tribunal emphasized that this right is not without limits, and her statements had crossed a line into alarming and inflammatory language.
The tribunal also highlighted Dr. McCloskey’s use of her professional title as a GP to lend authority to her views, and her efforts to encourage her audience to share her opinions.
Despite Dr. McCloskey’s previously unblemished record and the unique circumstances of the Covid pandemic, the tribunal found her lack of remorse or apology for her actions to be concerning. They concluded that there remained a risk to public health and safety if she were allowed to continue practicing without demonstrating a change in behavior.
As a result, Dr. McCloskey has been suspended for six months, with a review scheduled at the end of the suspension period to assess her readiness to return to practice. Dr. McCloskey has 28 days to appeal the ruling.