Launceston orthopedic surgeon Gary Fettke’s name has been cleared, two years after Australia’s medical watchdog cautioned him against providing nutritional information to patients.
On Friday, Dr Fettke announced that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency had dropped all charges and formally apologised for errors made in dealing with claims against him.
An advocate for a low carbohydrate diet, Dr Fettke was officially cautioned by the AHPRA in 2016 after an anonymous notifier reported him for recommending patients to reduce their sugar intake.
Dr Fettke said the “common sense” outcome from AHPRA was what he had always hoped for.
“This decision opens up a door for a lot of people,” he said.
“Clearly I am relieved.
“This has all taken a major professional, personal and financial toll, on myself and my family.
“This is what we have been fighting for, for a long time.
“That AHPRA has apologised, it is almost unprecedented.”
Dr Fettke signed a six-month contract with the Launceston General Hospital in March, but said he would take leave without pay until his name was cleared.
With that contract now expired, Dr Fettke said he would not consider returning to the public health system until the senior hierarchy of the Department of Health were brought into question.
“The Tasmanian Health Service would need to do a significant backflip,” he said.
“They have shown their true colours through all of this and it hasn’t been pretty.
“This whole thing has always been way beyond just me.
“Clearing my name was only part of it.
“It is about the freedom to promote what we know to be right, to improve patient health, without fear of retribution.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency have both been contacted for comment.
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