August 25th 2018

  Buy Issue 3027

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Current policies leave farmers high and dry in drought

CANBERRA OBSERVED Captain and Lieutenant's $444 million munificence

MEDICAL ETHICS Changes to AHPRA's code of conduct would gag doctors

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Trump delivers for U.S. economy and workers

CHILDREN AND SOCIETY Treating depressed children: How will history judge us?

PRIVACY Big Brother is marketing you

THE FAMILY Humanae Vitae: a prophetic document at 50

SOCIETY AND MORES Novel features of child sexual abuse in our time

EUTHANASIA International expert emphasises palliative care

BIOGRAPHY The trouble with Harry (Freame) is that we've forgotten him

OPINION Just asking ... sauce for the goose ...?

HISTORY Christianity has died. Agreed, and yet ...

MILITARY HISTORY The volunteering spirit proves best in the test


MUSIC Chilly exposure: The sound and the fury

CINEMA Mission Impossible: Fallout: Ethan Hunt, knight errant

BOOK REVIEW A good diagnosis enables the cure

BOOK REVIEW End of the American empire?



OPINION The Victorian ALP observed from up close

Books promotion page

Changes to AHPRA's code of conduct would gag doctors

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, August 25, 2018

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has proposed changes to its doctors’ code of conduct that will have a chilling effect of the free exchange of ideas that the development of medicine thrives on, as well as compromising effective clinical practice in some instances.

AHPRA was set up by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2008 to establish a single national registration and accreditation scheme for registered health practitioners.

The 2018 draft revision to the code, Good Medical Practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia, includes the following statement:

The boundary between a doctor’s personal and public profile can be blurred. As a doctor, you need to acknowledge and consider the effect of your comments and actions outside work, including online, on your professional standing and on the reputation of the profession. If making public comment, you should acknowledge the profession’s generally accepted views and indicate when your personal opinion differs. Behaviour which could undermine community trust in the profession is at odds with good medical practice and may be considered unprofessional.”

The proposed change to the code means that doctors risk being deregistered for making comments as a private citizen that do not adhere to the government’s or APRHA’s world view. It would mean cases like the one involving Toowoomba GP Dr David van Gend could become the norm. Dr van Gend is currently being hauled before AHPRA to account for his actions in retweeting comments from former head of the Australian Christian Lobby and now Senate candidate, Lyle Shelton.

The retweets consisted of a Shelton retweet of an article by Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine entitled “SSM has led exactly where we were warned it would”; while the other was a Shelton tweet including a selfie with American author Ryan T. Anderson saying: “A privilege to catch up with … the author of How Harry Became Sally. A must-read for anyone trying to understand how to push back on radical gender indoctrination of our children.”

Dr van Gend did not add any commentary to the retweets but is being investigated by AHPRA for “presenting as a medical practitioner and providing information that is ‘clearly not medically, psychologically, nor scientifically based’ and not promoting public health”.

AHPRA summed up the total of van Gend’s “crimes” thus: “The practitioner (van Gend) has ‘retweeted’ Mr Lyle Shelton’s tweets promoting books that ‘push back on radical gender indoctrination of children’, and an article titled ‘SSM has led exactly where we warned it would’.”

Dr van Gend was required to justify in writing by August 2, “Whether your posting on social media ‘twitter’ promotes the health of the community and advances the health and wellbeing of individual patients”.

How Dr van Gend’s retweets were not “promot[ing] the health of the community and advanc[ing] the health and wellbeing of individual patients” is one that AHPRA would be on very shaky ground attempting to prove. Presumably, AHPRA supports confusing children with gender-fluid ideology and gender dysphoric people being encouraged to undergo irreversible chemical or surgical sterilisation and mutilation in order to “transition gender”, as promoting health.

Dr Quentin Van Meter, president of the American College of Pediatricians, has said: “To affirm a child or adolescent as a gender not in alignment with their biological sex is to abuse and irreparably harm that patient.” Furthermore, studies show that transgenders are 22 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population, and a meta-analysis of 39 studies from 15 countries found that transgender women experience HIV rates 49 times that of the general population.

Additionally, gender dysphoric children return to identifying with their birth sex by adulthood (if not pushed down a path of chemical and surgical “transition”) in 80 to 97.5 per cent of cases.

This is not the first time a medical board has seen fit to embark upon its own campaign of pursuing doctors for their personal beliefs. The Medical Board of Victoria, whose parent body is AHPRA, conducted a lengthy investigation in 2013 into Dr Mark Hobart, who refused to refer an Indian woman for a sex-selective abortion of her 19-week-old pre-born baby, because the couple wanted a boy rather than a girl. The couple made no official complaint against the doctor. Yet Dr Hobart was formally cautioned for his actions.

Another part of the AHPRA draft 2018 code regarding “Culturally safe and sensitive practice” says: “Understanding that only the patient and/or their family can determine whether or not care is culturally safe and respectful.” In other words, now health professionals have to defer in their expertise to a patient’s wishes, regardless of whether it endangers their health.

This has profound ramifications for providing appropriate care to gender dysphoric patients, not to mention the uncertainty it creates around issues such as female genital mutilation and penile subincision (performed on Indigenous Australians).

The draft 2018 code also proposes the following wording: “Upholding your duty to your patient and not discriminating on medically irrelevant grounds, including … gender identity, sexual orientation”. Given that issues around gender identity (dysphoria) do require medical and psychological expertise that may differ from a patient’s desires (think of an anorexic person requesting liposuction or gastric banding), to suggest gender identity is irrelevant to the practice of good medicine is a fantasy.

AHPRA’s draft code will be used to extinguish differences of opinion over best practice medicine and deregister doctors expressing any “unapproved” personal views. It fails to recall that some of medicine’s greatest breakthroughs came about when doctors challenged the consensus of their day.

Listen to
News Weekly Podcasts

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

Join email list

Join e-newsletter list

Your cart has 0 items

Subscribe to NewsWeekly

Research Papers

Trending articles

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL FREE: The commentary file

RURAL AFFAIRS A national disgrace: Our great land sale

ROYAL COMMISSION Hatchet job on Cardinal Pell breached basic principle of fairness

COVER STORY Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

EDITORIAL Australia needs an economic reset after covid19 crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED The very young can still be 'taken care of' during the covid19 outbreak

COVER STORY Gearing up to ditch free-trade policy

© Copyright 2017
Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm