With the mandates enforced in Australia last Friday – most unvaccinated people have come to terms with most of the enforced rules that have come into play. Except for one.
Many Doctors surgeries are refusing to admit patients that have not been double-vaccinated.
Instead, patients that are choosing not to vaccinate or have only had a single Covid Vaccination shot are told by surgeries to have a tele-appointment over the phone. Many GP’s around Australia and implementing a ‘No vax, no visit’ policy at their private practices.
So let’s look at the rules and regulations behind this:
Can a Doctor Refuse to See Unvaccinated Patients?
The MBA Code of Conduct States:
Our decisions about patients’ access to medical care must be free from bias and discrimination. Good medical practice involves:
3.4.1 Treating your patients with respect at all times.
3.4.2 Not prejudicing your patient’s care because you believe that a patient’s behaviour has contributed to their condition.
3.4.3 Upholding your duty to your patient and not discriminating against your patient on grounds such as race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or other grounds, as described in antidiscrimination legislation.11
3.4.4 Giving priority to investigating and treating patients on the basis of clinical need and the effectiveness of the proposed investigations or treatment.
3.4.5 Keeping yourself and your staff safe when caring for patients. If a patient poses a risk to your health and safety, or that of your staff, take action to protect against that risk. Such a patient should not be denied care if reasonable steps can be taken to keep you and your staff safe.
3.4.6 Being aware of your right to not provide or directly participate in treatments to which you conscientiously object, informing your patients and, if relevant, colleagues of your objection, and not using your objection to impede access to treatments that are legal. In some jurisdictions, the legislation mandates doctors who do not wish to participate in certain treatments, to refer on the patient.
3.4.7 Not allowing your moral or religious views to deny patients access to medical care, recognising that you are free to decline to personally provide or directly participate in that care.
Can a Doctor Refuse to Treat an Unvaccinated Patient?
What About Patients Under the Age of 16?
Patients who are aged under 16 who are not vaccinated may attend face to face consultations however they must attend either alone or with one fully vaccinated support person. Most are asked to contact the surgery from their vehicle, and they are called in when the Doctor is ready for them.
The Health Care Complaints Commission of NSW
The Health Care Complaints Commission is an NSW Authority that deals with complaints from patients about health services. They state:
“Generally, a medical practitioner is not obliged to see a patient unless that person’s life is in danger and requires urgent medical assistance.”
“A practitioner has a broad duty of care to patients and appropriate assessment by telehealth, face to face consultation, or referral to another practitioner should be considered.”
Is It Legal For Doctors to Refuse to See Unvaxxed Patients?
The answer is complex. Most medical practises are privately owned, so GP’s themselves can choose not to see an unvaccinated patient – as is their right. But they do have to offer an alternative such as a tele-appointment.
The AMA in Victoria says that Doctors may cop a referral to AHPRA if they ban unvaccinated patients from face to face consults outside of an emergency situation.
If you wish to submit a concern to AHRPA – you can do so here.
What to Do If You Need to See a Doctor Face to Face Unvaxxed?
We would suggest that you call ahead to your local GP to see what their rules are or look on their website for their stance on the issue. If they don’t allow a face to face consult with unvaccinated patients, you may have to look elsewhere or attend your local hospital for treatment.