A Queensland man has been charged after allegedly assaulting a GP who would not issue a COVID-19 vaccine exemption. 

Police were called to the Sonic HealthPlus medical centre in Moranbah last Friday.

“It will be alleged a 48-year-old attended the premises and became involved in a verbal altercation with a 39-year-old male medical worker in relation to a private medical matter,” a police spokesperson said this week.

“It is further alleged the man then punched the medical worker twice and pushed him to the ground.

“The 48-year-old Moranbah man was arrested and charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in a public place whilst adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and public nuisance.”

Reports say the medical worker was a GP who was assaulted after refusing to give the man a COVID-19 vaccination exemption.

The incident has caused a broader call for calm from medical professionals. 

Nicole Higgins, owner and operator of Health on Central in Mackay, has told the ABC that her staff have received waves of abuse.

“We've had emails, we've had letters that have been sent in that have been threatening,” she said.

“As a business owner I've got to make sure that my doctors and staff are safe, that they're able to go to their car parks at night.

“So we've changed some of the procedures around, just making sure that nobody walks out alone.

“We've got so many exhausted people in primary care, in GP surgeries and hospitals [across Australia], who are really doing the best that they can to look after people.

“And it is quite demoralising, but we have to remember that it's only a very small part of our community and everybody else is incredibly thankful and grateful for the work that health workers do.”

Townsville-based doctor Michael Clements, a member of the AMA Queensland Council, says doctors have limited options.

“We've got very clear guidelines for GPs about when we can write things like vaccine exemptions and things like mask exemptions,” he said.

“The guidance is clear — that is that vaccine exemptions really only apply to a small number of people.

“When doctors act outside of those guidelines, the doctors themselves can be subject to action by [the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency].

“They feel threatened, upset and scared about mandatory vaccination rules that are affecting their lives and livelihoods.

“But sadly … these fears and anxieties, and sometimes anger, is actually playing out within the consultation room with doctors.

“It's quite scary for some of our rural doctors, where there may only be one or two GPs,” he said.