Australia’s march toward medical authoritarianism continues.
Doctors are now being told they could face discipline for saying anything that contradicts “public health messaging,” even if what they are saying is “evidence-based.”
They may even face investigations for “authoring papers” that health authorities do not like.
Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating.
Like all physicians, Australian doctors can face disciplinary investigations for medical errors or other problems. In Australia, those investigations are called “notifications,” a nicely Orwellian euphemism. Ahpra, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency, oversees them.
On Feb. 28, a big Australian medical insurer warned physicians that to avoid Aphra notifications, they needed to “be very careful” not to contradict “public health messaging” in social media comments.
But the warning – although first mentioning social media – went even further. It also warned against “authoring papers” that contradicted the authorities’ favored views.
Further, even “views… consistent with evidence-based material” could lead to problems if they contradicted “public health messaging.”
The warning came from the Medical Indemnity Protection Society, which provides professional insurance coverage for doctors. Although these insurers do not speak officially for government agencies, doctors effectively cannot practice without professional insurance, so their pronouncements are powerful.
In other words, only a very brave physician in Australia would consider offering advice that’s not “consistent with public health messaging” anytime soon.
No worries, though, the public health authorities know best!