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Class and privilege are the enemies of meritocracy

It’s hard to see any value in Nick Coatsworth, apart from his providing substantial evidence that we don’t live in a meritocracy.

Nick’s cut from the same cloth as his longtime mates and fellow wallowers in controversy, Christian Porter, Andrew Laming and Peter Van Onselen. It’s a comparison many people would find offensive but also a rare opportunity to say something positive about Nick.

While Porter, Van Onselen and Laming were quick to have legal letters drawn up over some supposed slur by Professor Gemma Carey – Nick chose not to.

Class and privilege allow some very dodgy creatures to rise quickly up the ranks. Private schools are about connections, not the high standards of education and morality they stick on their brochures and websites.

These schools encourage a born-to-rule expectancy and a sense of superiority in their charges, reinforced by their ease of advancement. One result of this is their tendency to use defamation laws to protect their “reputations”. It’s ironic because these people seem incredibly thick-skinned.

The class solidarity such origins breed and the rewards they offer (in too many professions) is why Nick doesn’t find any difficulty in betraying the interests of the hoi polloi or his fellow doctors.


Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth – State-approved “expert”

One of the many problems with media “experts” – those opinionated talking heads inserted into news stories in various mediums – is that their popularity (reappearances) is dictated by their adherence to the “correct” agenda. It’s always amusing when one of them goes off-track and states oppositional views. The near panic of the host, reveals the ideological preferences of that medium’s sponsors.

Nick Coatsworth may be a bumbling communicator whose predictions and advice are invariably wrong – but he is “safe”. Despite his predictions and opinions leading to more people contracting Covid-19, more people suffering Long Covid and an increased number of fatalities – he is spouting the “correct” agenda.

Dingo News had reason to take Nick to task in another article


– Insert –

The lack of interest in taming the dangerous excesses of our highly concentrated mainstream media by our Labor government is due to their shared agendas on defence, climate change and of course Covid with our media oligarchs and the business interests they represent. Mainstream media are abominable in regard to downplaying COVID-19’s severity while boosting opinions from people that have been proven wrong about Covid over and over again.  


“Twenty twenty-two will be the year the pandemic ends. It could even be sooner than we think.”- Nick Coatsworth


“We can be rightly proud of what we have achieved as Australians in the face of what was the challenge of our lifetime. We will emerge a stronger, healthier and more prosperous nation for our efforts.”Why 2022 and Omicron variant will mark the end of the Covid-19 pandemic Natalie Brown – News com  


 NICK COATSWORTH: Deputy Chief Medical Officer interview on Sky News Live First Edition on 6 May 2020

 COVID-19 is definitely not an airborne pathogen When you have airborne pathogens, like measles for example, the basic reproductive number that we’ve all come to know so well is much higher than what it is for COVID-19 – so,  so definitely not an airborne.  It’s got – this is a droplet pathogen which means it settles on surfaces. Once it is coughed up or expectorated it tends to – it drops to the ground very quickly.

 And that’s why hand hygiene and physical distance are our most important measures and will be our most important measures particularly when we start opening businesses that they enable processes that allow us to keep our distance from each other until we have a vaccine or effective treatment.







Dr Nick Coatsworth, thanks for busting a few myths this morning and keeping us up to date. I appreciate it. – Deputy Chief Medical Officer interview on Sky News Live First Edition about coronavirus (COVID-19)


As a further refinement to this joke – this interview is currently hosted on a government website.  

  It makes you wonder how many people have been infected, suffered Long Covid or died because of this arrogant incompetent’s declarations.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) should strike Coatsworth off. (Believe that’s actually Ahpra’s role) – or at the very least, tar and feather him.



– End of insert –


Dr Nick will keep us sick

It’s hard to believe someone who delivers medical advice (which truly qualifies as life-or-death commentary) can get away with constantly being wrong. Unless of course, they have the backing of the State, the media and other instrumentalities.

A satirical piece about a rogue epidemiologist who conned the media – (rather than conspiring with them) – would seem a little farfetched if it used headlines like these…

Top doctor Nick Coatsworth urges states to reconsider face masks for school students Bethany Hiatt -The West Australian

Nick Coatsworth reveals why the push for masks is WRONG – as crazy Covid policies force Aussies with serious health problems to the back of hospital queue Antoinette Milienos For Daily Mail Australia

No masks for grade three as Dr Coatsworth reveals he had COVID-19 – Oliver Peterson – 6PR Perth

COVID-19: ‘Overwhelming’ evidence virus spreads through contact, droplets not air Heath Parkes-Hupton – The Australian

“Dr Nick Coatsworth addressed a letter signed by a group of 239 scientists from more than 30 countries urging the World Health Organisation to more seriously consider “emerging evidence” the virus was being spread through aerosolised particles.

Nick’s response?

“The overwhelming body of evidence suggests that the primary mode of COVID-19 getting from one person to another is larger droplets,” (Coatsworth) said.”

Mindboggling isn’t it? The only consequences of this dangerous ineptitude? More demand for his opinion and new career opportunities.


So what’s Nick up to now?

Having done an exemplary job at minimising the Covid pandemic and generally undoing the good work of medical practitioners who follow the science and are aware of the Precautionary Principle…



…Nick has gone into Public Relations in a big way. Signing up with CMC Talent Management and working with and receiving publicity from Screencraft Media.

I’m assuming they’re responsible for ‘The Medical Talkshow with Dr Nick Coatsworth’ that has appeared on YouTube.

Nick is also the Australian Patients Association’s (APA) new Ambassador for Health Reform. In true ambassadorial fashion, Nick has pointed out that the APA’s partners are mainly “drug companies”. Other sponsors are colleges, the Pharmacy Guild and private health insurers.



Nick assures us, that none of the funding these altruistically-minded companies provide “is tied to any outcome’. They are just “happy to fund a strong patient voice”.



Apparently, we are to believe these companies have formed some sort of benevolent anarcho-syndicalist cooperative with the Australian Patient’s Association to help patients.

It’s unfortunate Nick has absolutely no credibility as an advocate for anyone but those who adhere to his neoliberal ideology and can further his career…


…which reflects badly on any association that would deem him ambassadorial material.


Astroturfing, Lobbying and Propaganda

Accusations that the Australian Patient’s Association is merely an astroturfing exercise backed by pharmaceutical companies and other vested interests will only be reinforced by Nick’s appointment.

“A University of Adelaide policy analyst and psychiatric epidemiologist, Melissa Raven, said there was also evidence that pharmaceutical companies engaged in astroturf lobbying – the masked use of supposedly “grassroots” consumer groups to lobby for a particular drug.

“They use those consumer organisations particularly for the really emotive issues, like a life-saving drug for teenagers with cancer,” Raven said.

“The pharmaceutical industry has been extraordinarily clever and strategic at doing that sort of emotive lobbying.” – Pharmaceutical industry donates millions to both Australian political parties – Companies employ vast numbers of lobbyists and their influence contributes to Australia’s high drug prices, expert says –  and The Guardian


Some of the prime indicators of an astroturfing organisation are who sponsors it and whether the group prioritises corporate and industry interests over the public.


Characteristics of patient-advocacy front groups

Patient advocacy groups that serve as pharmaceutical fronts may display some or all of the following characteristics.

They may:

• Derive most, if not all of their revenue from pharmaceutical manufacturers;

• Lobby for treatment programs that also benefit their drug-company donors;

• Tend to be slower to publicize treatment problems than breakthroughs;

• Tend not to openly question drug prices;

• Tend to encourage patients to stay on their medications and offer programs to help patients stay on their medications, and push insurers to pay for it;

• Funding from drug companies to the organization usually comes from the drug makers’ marketing or sales divisions, not charity offices;

• Fail to adequately discuss, or minimize discussion of adverse drug side effects of drugs like brain damage or suicide;

• Fail to lobby for more or additional safety research due to the potential for cutoff of their pharma funding

Focus on drugs as the preferred treatment, and neglect issues like housing and income support, vocational training, rehabilitation, and empowerment, all of which can play a role in recovery from mental illness.

Truly independent patient advocacy groups are likely to be controlled by volunteers who actually take mental health drugs themselves. True grassroots patient advocacy groups are likely to have “fire-walls” against donor influence, like policies against accepting funding from drug companies.Patient Groups – Characteristics of patient-advocacy front groupsSource Watch


What are the goals of Nick and his sponsors?

The aim of these groups as communicated through Nick is to “reform” (privatise) Medicare. To increase their profits through greater control and intrusions into the public health sector.

Dr Nick Coatsworth joins Australian Patients Association to put patients at the centre of Medicare reform


Despite the positive spin promulgated by Nick (whose opinions are generally met with scorn) the “reforms” simply embody wall-papering over the failures of neoliberal policies, with more neoliberal policies. By lucky chance, this also increases the profits and influence of the “reformers”. The campaigning aimed at the public, claims these “reforms” are being done to improve patient care and access. They fail to mention the neoliberal ideologies of consecutive Federal and State governments, which have created this doctor shortage and made these risky experiments with patients’ health possible.

If you watch Nick’s videos and read through his latest comments (journalism is 90% masochism) you’ll see a theme or tactic developing to suit his new role.

Wherein, pharmacists are the strong-jawed good guys in pristine white hats, while doctors (apart from Nick) are those ugly, unshaven types with knife-scarred cheeks and dusty black hats.

Coincidentally, this view assists the Pharmacy Guild which is engaged in an eternal turf war (think Alien vs Predator) with the AMA.  Doctor shortages and “revelations” about Medicare fraud have made doctors vulnerable to their encroachment.

In Nick’s video, “Resuscitating General Practice – The Medical Talkshow with Dr Nick Coatsworth” he asks, Why are surgeons recommending that patients take money out of their super to go to a private hospital?”

I’ve had a few operations¹ and don’t recall discussing payments with surgeons. So I asked Nick in the comments, “Could you point me to surgeons recommending that patients use their superannuation to get elective surgery? – thanks” – The comment was deleted. My second version remains up – but unanswered.

Nick is using a classic Us and Them ploy. It’s Nick, the pharmacists and the people against those greedy elitist doctors. 


Nick’s sanctimonious and condescending tone annoys me – and I’m not a doctor. The immediate assumption that it is the doctor’s profession and AMA at fault (Is there no government oversight?) and the promise of more to come from this ‘expert in parroting his backer’s views’ are predictable.

The SMH has done a 28-part story on this affair which is suggestive of a political campaign in high drive. In fact, the SMH has been so busy with this story they missed the Nord Stream article by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh.


The responses to Nick’s pontification and betrayal of his colleagues are fierce. They’re not atypical either. You’d almost
wonder if he’s really an AMA plant in a ruthlessly devious endeavour to finally destroy their age-old enemy.


An obvious propagandist and traitor to his colleagues

Nick and/or his advisors decided an article extolling the benefits of lowering the quality of medical care would be a good idea. It wasn’t.

What ensued was one of the most brutal takedowns this MMA aficionado has ever seen.



November 24, 2022

I’ve lost count of how many times a pharmacist has saved my bacon (and my patient’s health) during my career. Those experiences have led me to deeply respect the professional skills of pharmacy colleagues. They have made me open to the idea that community pharmacists are capable of diagnosing straightforward illness and prescribing medication.

…it would be wrong to characterise this trial as an attempt by the pharmacy profession to gain ground in a professional turf war. On the contrary, it represents one of the only realistic short-term reform pathways to improve access to care in our constrained health system.




November 29, 2022

As a former pharmacist and now a working GP, the oversimplification of the health ecosystem by our politicians never fails to astound me.

Their misunderstanding of the respective roles of all healthcare practitioners to form a well-functioning, multidisciplinary team and their attempt to further fragment the already fractured medical system is dangerous and ethically very concerning.

As the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement is ending in 2025, perhaps politicians should focus on improving the entire health economy, rather than lining the pockets of their corporate donors. – As a pharmacist turned doctor, I don’t trust ‘noctors’ to diagnose – Peter Cheng – SMH


A short ugly fight ended with a vicious, bone-breaking body slam. Peter, unmarked and fresh throws his bloodied gloves into the crowd before the referee raises his hand in victory. 

It couldn’t be plainer to see that Nick is lobbying for the Pharmacy Guild and other business interests. Just another Liberal who considers Medicare an attractive cash cow in need of privatisation.

A process that’s already happening…

(From June 2016) – “For some reason, the Liberal Party has found itself all tied up with special interest groups which want healthcare to be privatised. But that’s all they are, special interest groups; and they don’t represent the views of the rest of us. Most of us aren’t employed by private health funds. Somehow though, those special interest groups have done an awesome job of brainwashing policymakers in the Liberal Party that health spending is out of control.” – How the federal government is already privatising MedicareJenna Price – SMH

We expect the Liberals to champion the privatisation of Medicare, it’s in their DNA. Whereas Labor makes much of their party creating Medibank/Medicare. The problem is, Labor has been seized by the Right and their neoliberal scrutiny of everything from health care to preserving koalas varies little from their Liberal counterparts. The only exception is their obsession with defence, seemingly unconstrained by Labor’s economic rationalisation.

No denying that Labor was very noisy about incursions into Medicare in the past. However, the reluctance of Labor to wind back Liberal policies once in power or to address privatisation by stealth are undeniable realities in Labor’s history.


Changes empowering pharmacists lack oversight and scientific rigour

Not totally opposed to some of the proposed changes but the doctor’s solution doesn’t seem to be getting any airplay at all…

“My proposal for this problem is to allow the dispensing of medications by medical practitioners. This is currently illegal except in special circumstances, mainly affecting rural and remote practices. There is a reason for this – doctors cannot be incentivised to gain profits from the medications they prescribe. The same courtesy is not being shown to patients regarding the boundary between pharmacists selling a medication, and what has been proposed – prescribing a medication that they will then profit from.

So, back to doctors who could dispense. There are roughly 102,800 doctors in Australia. In comparison, the number of pharmacists in Australia is 33,000. If access is the issue, and the ethics surrounding conflict of interest are brushed aside, it makes more sense for doctors to be given dispensing rights so patients receive treatment immediately after being assessed.

If each doctor had their own respective dispensary and was able to provide efficient, adequate and safe access to medicines, this would efficiently save the taxpayer costs on the PBS. And it would not cost the MBS any more than it currently does.”. As a pharmacist turned doctor, I don’t trust ‘noctors’ to diagnose – Peter Cheng – SMH

…nor does there seem to be suitable oversight where these changes have occurred.

“Queensland Health and the Pharmacy Guild recently declared it a success and a huge win for women’s health.”

“However, they have not released any evidence of the health outcomes for the women involved. UTIs are not always simple bacterial infections. UTI symptoms are common to other serious health issues, including bladder cancer, chlamydia and kidney infections,” AMAQ president, Professor Chris Perry said.

The trial, at the time, was opposed by hospital pharmacists, urologists, infectious disease specialists and doctors, he said.

“It was not a clinically-registered trial, and the only evaluation we have seen so far is the number of prescriptions written. We don’t know how many pharmacists performed a basic urine test before diagnosing a bacterial infection and selling antibiotics,” Perry said.” – Healthy debate or turf war? Pharmacists and doctors in angry stoush Cindy Wockner – INQueensland

A submission by the Australian Medical Association in South Australia (AMAA(SA) referred to the Queensland experience, drawing on the Queensland government’s own findings.

“In regard to the UTI pharmacy prescribing experiment, the Queensland Government’s own review showed that hundreds of women were harmed through not receiving the correct treatment during the pilot program:

• 65 per cent of women who took part in the UTI experiment were not contacted for follow-up, despite this being part of the protocol, meaning their safety and/or any adverse events were not known

• Of those who were followed up, at least 270 needed further treatment, either because they were misdiagnosed, suffered complications, or did not respond to treatment, possibly due to antibiotic resistance.

• 97 per cent of women who took part were sold antibiotics, whether they needed them or not

• One in two pharmacists said they would have found it difficult to charge the consultation fee without also supplying antibiotics

• The vast majority of services were delivered in cities and major regional towns in business hours, not after-hours or in rural and remote areas.”


Changes made on the basis of difficulties in funding general practice and Medicare are not being made to increase medical quality and such claims have been well-debunked. We have already seen Covid become near invisible through the government’s need to placate Big Business, spurred on by the media and their talking heads such as Nick Coatsworth.

Is this to be the future of health care in Australia? Health policy dictated by vested interests filling the airwaves and our screens with their propagandists while handing out donations to governments and astroturfing groups? A stealthy diminishment of medical standards as the rent-seekers move in? Have we learned nothing from the demise of Britain’s NHS?


– Fini –



Bonus Supplementary piece



Businesses that put the health of their profits before the health of their customers will be thrilled by the latest hill Nick has chosen to die on. Just a reminder that Nick is a qualified doctor, although evidently not one that cares about people’s health. Let’s see how Nick’s endorsement of breathing Covid-contaminated-air to save his sponsor’s money went down with the public.




We’ll need to change regulations that protect occupants’ health
and safety in the NCC to appease Nick and his backers.



¹ I will admit to having a soft spot for the surgeons who fixed my two broken legs, reattached a detached bicep and saved the loss of my left arm after a nasty break nearly severed the median nerve. Broken noses I fixed myself.

Bit of an ideological minefield for this gentle scribe. Doctors mostly represent a class I don’t belong to. To be fair: Nick’s class of privileged “elite” is one many doctors don’t belong to either.



What are we waiting for

Turf War

Australian PM Anthony Albanese: The Before and After Poster-Boy for why you don’t want Covid – Mick Lawless

Old Christian Porter, Peter van Onselen, Dr Nick Coatsworth photograph sparks Grace Tame legal row

Greedy Pharmacy Guild: another coven of lobbyists collects JobKeeper

Healthy debate or turf war? Pharmacists and doctors in angry stoush

Medicare compliance: seeking transparency and fairness

Lobby Land: the Pharmacy Guild’s powerful influence over health policy

Decline in status of general practice ‘a disaster’ for healthcare

What matters: turf war or patient care?

I’m a doctor who’ll trust pharmacists to diagnose

As a pharmacist turned doctor, I don’t trust ‘noctors’ to diagnose

Viral petition reveals more than 500 allegations of sexual assault in Australian private schools

Pharmacy Guild just keeps on giving

What is the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and why does it wield so much power?

AusDoc investigation: The Pharmacy Guild, its lobbyists and its money

Nick Coatsworth Author Health Policy | Public Administration | Infectious Diseases | Leadership

Top doctor Nick Coatsworth urges states to reconsider face masks for school students

Christian Porter resumes defamation pursuits over Twitter posts

Why the Pharmacy Guild is the most powerful lobby group you’ve never heard of

Australian Patients Association Limited – (Charity status)


A submission by the Australian Medical Association in South Australia (AMAA(SA) – to Select Committee on Access to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Treatment


National Construction Code – Part 2.4 Health and amenity

Pharmaceutical industry donates millions to both Australian political parties

The Pharmacy Guild: the most powerful lobby group you’ve never heard of

Medicare is being disrupted and doctors are under attack