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The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia says it has suspended a doctor from practising while it completes an investigation into allegations that he circumvented COVID-19 public-health orders.

The interim suspension order, effective March 24 but posted on the college’s website on Monday, affects Dr. Stephen Malthouse, a family practitioner on Denman Island.

The order says an inquiry panel hasn’t decided on the merits of the allegations, but it has determined there would be “a real risk of harm to the public” if Dr. Malthouse continued to practise without restriction.

It says Dr. Malthouse has not responded to allegations that he signed COVID-19 vaccine and mask exemption forms based on false statements and used his status as a doctor to “circumvent public health orders.”

It finds a “high likelihood” that Dr. Malthouse would continue those actions if the interim order were not issued and it says although the allegations have not been proven, the suspension will remain in effect pending completion of the probe.

Dr. Malthouse did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment about his suspension but when the college warned doctors they could be penalized for contradicting COVID-19 public-health guidance he urged the regulator to discuss practitioners questions with them.

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