AHPRA ruling on Gary… silenced ‘forever’ for giving nutritional advice!
A medical degree does not qualify doctors to advise their patients to avoid sugar.
The only question that the Medical Board asked Gary at his verbal hearing was “Did he consider advising people to avoid sugar as being specific advice?”
They may silence the messenger, but they can’t silence the message …
“There is nothing associated with your medical training or education that makes you an expert or authority in the field of nutrition, diabetes or cancer. Even if, in the future, your views on the benefits of the LCHF lifestyle become the accepted best medical practice this does not change the fundamental fact that you are not suitably trained or educated as a medical practitioner to be providing advice or recommendations on this topic as a medical practitioner.”
Please note, AHPRA are NOT questioning Gary’s ability to perform surgery, NOR has there been a single case of patient harm identified. Central to the investigations has been the issue of Gary promoting a Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat lifestyle to his patients and the community.
He has just seen the benefits of preventative health intervention and been too loud about it.
The allegations have not come from patients. They appear to have come anonymously from those with vested interests.
Gary was sent the ruling from the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) within a few hours of him submitting evidence as a witness to a Senate Inquiry on the failings of AHPRA and his ongoing bullying and harassment from the public hospital system. Coincidence?
The email arrived less than 3 hours after he presented to the Senate Inquiry. This is after nearly 2 ½ years of investigation. For some, that coincidence might be construed as harassment.
Receiving his final ruling on the day of the Senate Inquiry was a poignant reminder of what is seriously wrong with the system.
AHPRA, on that day, stated that the average investigation time was 137 days and they thought that was a ‘Fair and Reasonable’ investigation time. 832 days of responding to ‘shifting goal posts’ does not seem fair and reasonable. Most of his submitted responses seem to have been ignored as have been most of his questions back to the medical board.
As of the 1st November 2016 Gary has been officially ‘Silenced’ from talking about nutrition on any platform. Silenced from speaking with his patients or the public about nutrition, and the role he believes that Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat Living can play in the management of diabetes and the adjunctive role in the reduction of complications and/or cancer prevention for the remainder of his medical career.
Why? Because nutrition has been deemed to be ‘outside the scope of practice’ of an Orthopaedic Surgeon, even though 2/3rds of Gary’s patients have weight related joint issues and/or diabetes. AHPRA did not recognise that spending 1000’s of hours reading textbooks, journal articles, working with scientists and collaborating with the full spectrum of health professionals (including fully qualified dietitians at Nutrition for Life) can be considered as ‘research’ or ‘professional development’.
This ‘Caution’ that AHPRA has handed down to Gary suggests that he is also restricted from participating in any ‘nutrition’ research projects to improve the health outcomes of his patients. Not only that, but it would suggest that he is unable to do any further study to become ‘qualified’ in the field of Nutrition while he remains a doctor under the AHPRA umbrella!
There is no right of appeal. There is no time frame for the decision. It is indefinite. There is no review process. It is a closed door. Formal advice has described the process as a ‘star chamber’, gross miscarriage of natural justice and a complete failure of fair process.
This is Australia in 2016, not Nazi Germany where Gary’s grandparents were persecuted. There should be a right of opinion and open discussion rather than ‘anonymous’ reporting of doctors for advice which is fast becoming mainstream.
AHPRA have advised that the caution will not be recorded on the public national register but that they will make all employers aware of the caution. That leads to bias and potential discrimination forever. We have heard many stories of health professionals having their careers stifled because of these cautions.
Where does that leave Gary ….. and Nutrition for Life?
It is about the message not the messenger. Low Carb Healthy Fat living is here right now and must continue. Each and every one of you that has found the benefits has a role to play -leading by example is one.
Gary will continue to seek review of what has been a sustained campaign of vexatious notifications. That process of trying to get review will be a long one, and costly one.
Gary and I proudly co-founded Nutrition for Life in September 2014 to offer a unique allied healthcare service which has grown to ten staff, and includes a qualified team of health professionals; Accredited Practising Dietitians; Nutritionists; and a Credentialled Diabetes Educator and admin support in both our Launceston Centre and in our Hobart Clinic.
The Nutrition for Life team not only look after clients but together do an enormous amount of work developing resources for doctors and the public, mentoring, after-hours client support, workshops, public talks and community awareness programs.
Nutrition for Life is our baby. The team is setting the example for the community and helping individuals take control of their lives, and for many, giving them their lives back. The results, particularly for those with diabetes, have been nothing short of miraculous for many.
Our critics say it is our business and we have a vested interest, but I can guarantee it is not a financial vested interest. We honestly wanted to set the example and educate those that are seeking help in achieving health improvements through nutrition. It is not a one size fits all approach that Gary has been accused of. It is about individualising care around general principles.
We cannot continue to finance Nutrition for Life alone, particularly the community work that is done, if Gary remains silenced.
‘Silencing’ will compromise Gary’s ability to continue to fund the community arm of Nutrition for Life, which is currently costing us over $150,000.00 a year to maintain. Multiples of that have been ‘sunk’ to establish Nutrition for Life as thought leaders and to work in the community. That money is never likely to return. So much for the ‘vested interest’ AHPRA and others allude to.
Not only has Gary fought to improve patient outcomes in our community, but he has been paying for people to attend our centre and receive personalised help, because he believes in the message that much!
How Can You Help?
Gary and I have been incredibly humbled by the offers of help we have received and want to thank our wonderful community for their support.
If you would like to ‘do something’ to help continue the LCHF – Nutrition for Life message to help others to take back control of their health, please consider supporting Nutrition for Life.
We truly believe in this concept. It is a travesty that the messenger is being silenced.
If any of you can assist in any other way, please contact us at www.nutritionforlife.healthcare
‘Science evolves by being challenged, not by being followed’ @thegaryscience