Orthopaedic surgeon Gary Fettke has signed a six-month contract with the Launceston General Hospital, but is taking leave without pay “until his name is cleared”.
He met with management on Friday morning, ahead of his contract expiring on Saturday, and signed the short-term contract.
Comment was sought from Health Minister Michael Ferguson. However, a government spokeswoman said, “as the government remains in caretaker, it is inappropriate to comment further on this matter at this time”.
That was despite Mr Ferguson commenting on the matter during the election campaign, when the government was in caretaker mode.
Mr Ferguson told The Examiner last week he wanted to see Mr Fettke continue practicing as a medical professional, including being allowed to offer his patients advice about healthy lifestyles.
Mr Fettke, who is an advocate for a low carbohydrate diet, was officially cautioned by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in 2016, against giving dietary advice to his patients.
His LGH contract was due to expire on March 10, and he said last month he would not sign a new contract unless his name was cleared with AHPRA.
His wife, Belinda, said they wanted an opportunity for the medical watchdog to reopen the case because “they might not have been given all the right information or the information supplied was vexatious, so they’ve made their ruling on something that was falsified”.
Mr Fettke said on Friday he had “long discussions” with senior management.
“In a show of good faith, I’m signing a short-term contract for six months and will be taking leave without pay until there’s been a full resolution to my satisfaction,” he said.
“The hospital’s agreed to that... I’m hoping to see it sooner than later, but their track record to date has not been efficient.
“We made a lot of progress this morning. Whether or not that progresses into resolution is yet to be determined.”
Mr Fettke will continue his private work in Launceston in the meantime.