As of June 2022, Australian authorities received over 1,000 complaints against medical workers who may have contravened or criticised public health advice around COVID-19.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which manages accreditation for health professionals across the country, said it received around 10,800 notifications across the 2021-22 financial year period.
Of those, around 1,303 were matters related to COVID-19, according to a statement to The Epoch Times.
From that group, AHPRA imposed restrictions on the registrations of 28 health practitioners by "immediate action" due to conduct that was deemed to pose a "serious risk to the public or was otherwise not in the public interest."
"Of the 28 practitioners, 21 practitioners were suspended. Of the 21 practitioners suspended in 2021-22, 12 were medical practitioners."
AHPRA works with 15 other bodies responsible for major professions such as nurses, paramedics, and doctors.
The group has imposed tight restrictions on what medical professionals can and cannot say about COVID-19 matters including the efficacy of vaccines, mask mandates, and lockdowns.
The statement has been criticised by human rights lawyer Peter Fam.
The CEO of AHPRA, Martin Fletcher, has maintained that doctors were not being silenced.
"We've had concerns from patients about not being able to access care, because health practitioners have refused to treat them because of concerns about COVID-19," he told the Community Affairs Legislation Committee during an Estimates hearing on Nov. 10.
"For example, refusals to wear masks, not complying with public health directions or lockdown requirements.
"We've had concerns about people practicing while they were unwell, and poor infection control, and we've also had concerns about the online conduct of health practitioners, for example, propagating what might be termed conspiracy theories."
Oosterhuis, a medical practitioner of 30 years, revealed in an online petition that he had posted content regarding early treatments against COVID-19 while questioning the efficacy of lockdowns and PCR tests.
Rules Tightening Around Public Safety IssuesMeanwhile, new changes are pending for the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, which is partly administered by AHPRA.
Further, employers will be compelled (by duty) to notify their relevant governing health body of any practitioner that has engaged in conduct deemed to “pose a risk to patients or the public” and if the individual has been penalised.
In response, the start-up union group, Red Union, said the “broad and discretionary nature” of terminology such as “public safety and confidence” was a tool being used to force health professionals to comply with government directives.
“Further, AMPS cannot support the extension in law to publicly name and shame practitioners who ‘pose a risk to public safety’ without defining how risk is to be interpreted,” it continued, noting that health professionals could suffer financial and reputational damage as a result of scrutiny.