I admit the last few years, and certainly the last few days, have taken their toll on both Gary and I. Despite everything, we have never stopped promoting messages empowering our community to improve their health outcomes.
We have been flooded with comments of support following the public announcement that Gary would withhold re-signing a 3 year contract with the Tasmanian Health System until a satisfactory resolution of his claims had been addressed.
This is so much bigger than it appears on the surface and the stories I share further down the page are a testament to that.
When I wake to messages of support that make me cry and my hands shake writing this post I know that I am hurting, others are hurting and the system is broken.
The issue is not just within the Tasmanian Health Service, nor is it localised to Tasmania, it has become a serious problem, world-wide.
Bandaiding sick-care is not working. Silencing those who speak up is criminal. Tim Noakes is on the other side of the world fighting the same issues.
When the Minister for Health unexpectedly rang into Tasmania Talks, a local talk-back radio program following Gary's interview on Thursday with Brian Carlton 10 minutes earlier, you would expect that he would be offering his reassurance that the situation in the THS would be looked into. Especially when there are systemic issues and Gary is not the only senior Visiting Medical Officer/employee who is considering leaving the THS. Dr Brian Kirkby, the head of the Department of Surgery left only two weeks ago.
But no ... his response allowed the public to understand that the inappropriate behaviour goes right to the very top of Health in Tasmania.
The Minister's comment to Gary on live radio "we had lunch together before Christmas" is very misleading. The luncheon he is referring to was organised by a third party with more than 20 people in attendance. The Minister for Health was the guest speaker and Gary, an invited guest by the organiser. This was hardly the setting for an intimate dicsussion about the issues Gary had. In fact, Gary was respectful and didn't broach any controversial topics. He was a guest and mindful of his position.
I shared a post yesterday about our decision to waive any liability to the THS in return for the 2 letters we have asked for to help clear Gary's name, which includes the link to the Minister for Health's discussion on live radio.
Some of the responses on our Facebook page state;-
"He did not address his failure to provide a safe workplace for Gary and how he is going to ensure this happens. He expects Gary to return to work without any guarantee that the bullying will stop."
"IMO he himself was bullying Gary. How many Tasmanian taxpayer dollars went into the sumission to AHPRA? How many taxpayer dollars have been used for legal defence? The problem with governments is that they lack the fortitude to stand up to the bureaucrats in their own departments."
"It's not all about the money either. IF they were truly concerned with saving tax money, they would investigate just how your program has been so successful and do some bean counting and figure it out fairly quickly."
"Shifting the entire blame to APHRA and not recognizing the part that the hospital staff played and CEO and the vexation complaint now documented with solid evidence of collusion at the highest levels with the head of the DAA now since resigned, is downright atrocious. The bullying and threats of violence to family pets is disgusting. He should be paid costs even though it's not about the money."
I refuse to allow anyone to 'air dirty laundry', muddying the waters to make it appear that my husband's issues for the last 7 years, have been about tax payers money! Seriously ... enough is enough :-(
Over the last few days people have shared stories that have made me cry...
Stories of people that have been disempowered by a system that fiercely protects strict dietary and health guidelines, shaped by Vested Interests and Ideology. A system that demands healthcare professionals toe the line for fear of regulation. And a system that rewards bandaiding sickcare over prevention ...
Stories of people that have been threatened to have medical treament and services withheld because they were using Low Carb Healthy Fat principles to manage and improve their health. Even with tangible proof on blood testing and marked improvement in their overall health and wellbeing.
Stories of people being told to stop eating Low Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats because their blood glucose control was too good and they wouldn't qualify to go onto a new drug!
Stories of people being told by healthcare professionals that Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat principles are dangerous and some have even been told that this way of eating will kill them.
But, most disturbing of all the stories was the one shared with me this morning about the struggles of a young mother and her child's health...
"How powerful it is to change someone’s life for the better. Even just one is so important. Becoming more educated about health is definitely gaining momentum in Australia. People are asking where their food comes from and Gary’s message will hopefully bring about more changes sooner. I’ve battled doctors, educators, nutritionists and professionals alike after my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. To go LCHP (Low Carbohydrate Higher Protein and inc Healthy Fats) was seen as extreme and damaging. I had questioned them why from the beginning. Over 2 years of being told that I was harming my child, I reached the point where I wasn’t even able to get a script for insulin, as I was bullied out the door as fast as they could push me. The stress took an enormous toll on me and I felt like I had to go it alone in caring for my son. Even after showing them results and no hospital admissions in 3.5 years! I kept going until I thankfully found the right doctors and health professionals, who are very supportive of better health management. Stubbornness paid off for me and I’m grateful that someone was willing to show me a better way."
Low Carbohydrates Higher Protein and some Healthy Fats can be used to manage Type 1 diabetes. Just take a look at this amazing group and an article I shared recently about a young family's success with LCHP.
How can young parents have prescriptions of life-saving insulin withheld? How can they be threatened with having their children (with Type 1 diabetes) removed from their family by child protection agencies!!! Despite these children achieving normal blood glucose levels and thriving.
How can 'guidelines' create such fear? Fear in health professionals to make them threaten, withhold services and create harm :-(
7 years ago Gary started questioning the amount of sugar in our diet and the amount of junk food in hospitals. He began to raise the issue of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety in his workplace. He thought he was doing the right thing. Patients who began to reduce sugar and adopted a Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat lifestyle found their health was improving. Did the health system say "wow ... that's amazing" "can we chat about this"? No. Did they say "we need to debate this as we don't quite understand"? No ... instead he was reported to the Tasmanian Medical Board of AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) and subsequently investigated for 2 1/2 years 'behind closed doors' with no case of patient harm nor patient complaint.
Gary has put up with 7 years of denial in his workplace, the Tasmanian Health System (THS). 7 years of his workplace denying bullying, harassment and mobbing behaviour for raising questions about Quality Assurance and Patient Safety. 5 years of vexatious complaints and an unsubstantiated 845 page submission to AHPRA that was collated by the Director of Medical Services in his hospital, on behalf of the THS. The same Director of Medical Services that was posting defamatory material about Gary on a Facebook Hate Page over several months. BTW, he is still in that position.
Understand, the Director of Medical Services is essentially Gary's 'boss' at the hospital.
Not only did the Director of Medical Services collate the extensive submission but he started with the words "My issues with Dr Fettke are ... " and included a statement suggesting that AHPRA look into the business Gary and I cofounded as it might be considered a conflict of interest. He alleged that Gary was making money from an allied healthcare business that he owned and referred patients to. Not once did AHPRA ask Gary about the business, nor did they ever do an audit. If they had they would have found the $700,000 of our own money we had invested in our community's health. I could never say there was no return. You can't put a price on people's health.
Just so it is publicly on record, Gary and I did not make any money from Nutrition for Life.
When AHPRA came after Gary for a perceived conflict of interest we gave Nutrition for Life to an amazing young couple, managing and working with a team of Dietitians and Nutritionists, who believe in the message and don't want to see this important service close. They to, have found avenues to apply for preventative health funding, virtually non-existent.
This is a young family who are providing preventative healthcare and evidence-based nutrition services with face to face and online support, to a community straining under a tsunami of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and mental health issues. Fighting to help people take back control of their health and de-prescribe.
Fighting to save taxpayers money which is freely flowing into bandaiding sick-care in the current health system.
This is an excerpt from one of Gary's posts from July 2013 before the AHPRA ban.
"My interpretation of the biochemistry and association literature is that our current western diet is to blame. Fructose and Polyunsaturated Fats combine to give us inflammation in every vessel and organ in the body. The refined and processed flours just add to this with spiking insulin effects.
Am I ‘certain’ of this? Is this completely proven without doubt in the scientific literature? No. But there is enough information there for me to advise reducing sugar, processed carbohydrates and polyunsaturated oils from our diet.
I know that the science is yet to prove beyond a doubt which part of our food intake is responsible for our health issues. It will be a combination of factors and the sugar industry will blame someone else and the seed oil industry will push it away from them. The convenience food industry will say it is a lack of exercise and our governments remain exposed to all of these vested interests.
In my mind there is no cost and no side effects to going back to eating real food. This involves cutting back dramatically on our sugar and particularly Fructose consumption as well as avoiding the polyunsaturated oils and processed foods which inundate the food aisles. The individual has a choice. I have a choice. The choice for me is to look at ‘The Man in the Mirror’ and start making a change. The benefits I am seeing around me from others taking a major interest in their diet propels this concept on.
I am sorry it took so long for me to change my way of thinking. I am sorry that the medical profession is taking its time to confront the food industry. I can see that they are waiting for ‘certainty’ but it may be a long time coming.
I am not waiting any longer …”
Richard Morris, himself on a journey to better health reversing Type 2 diabetes commented on my Facebook Page, yesterday "I think the way forward for all of us, is a truth and reconciliation process similar to the way South Africa handled the transition from apartheid to majority rule. We need space for the peak dietetic and medical bodies especially those in the diabetes space to admit they were wrong without incurring liability.
Yes it would be nice if all the bastards involved were properly tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail ... but if the pressure is kept on them then they will just keep doubling down on their bad advice.
I believe we need a legislative amnesty, to give the for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Diabetes Australia a safe space from which to accept that the evidence of Diabetes reversal from Virta Health and Newcastle university mandates a change in the guidelines.
And if they chose not to take up this once only offer ... then all bets are off, and all gloves are off.
The Dietitians Association of Australia will be led by the guidelines. If those change because of an expanded evidence basis, then they will also have to change. "
Richard ... I couldn't agree more and now that the CEO of the Dietitians Association of Australia has resigned we may start to see much needed changes.
As a wife, mother and huge advocate for preventative health in our community, I refuse to allow anyone to 'air dirty laundry', muddying the waters to make it appear that my husband, Dr Gary Fettke's issues for the last 7 years, have been about tax payers money! Seriously ... enough is enough :-(
IT IS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN ABOUT HEALTH.