Signing conscientious objector forms

Signing conscientious objector forms

The form in question allows GPs to declare that they have explained the risks and benefits of immunisation and the danger of not having a child immunised. The form does not indicate that a GP supports the parent or guardians decision not to have their child immunised.

The Act in question, A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) (the Act) at section 6(3) requires that a recognised immunization provider has certified that he or she has discussed the benefits and risks of immunizing the child.

Publications that a doctor can use when explaining the risks and benefits of immunisation include:
  • the Australian Academy of Science publication, The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers and
  • the Myths and Realities publication available at the Department of Health website.

If a doctor will not under any circumstances sign the form, they should make it clear to patients before any consultation takes place (much as some practices make it clear by a sign in reception stating that they will not prescribe certain drugs to new patients). That is, they should decline to accept the appointment in the first place so no obligation arises on the part of the patient to pay for it. That way, there should be no issue with patients making appointments to have the form signed, and leaving disappointed.

The other side to this is that doctors, in signing the form, are merely declaring that they have explained the risks and benefits of immunization and the danger of not having a child immunised. Their duty is to explain the benefits and risks, not to force a parent to make a particular decision.

For more information please contact the Primary Care Support Team at practice_support@nsml.com.au or phone 9477 8700.

Signing conscientious objector forms