Tim Noakes’s battle with council over tweet comes to an end
After four years‚ five months and three days it is "finally over".
According to banting guru Tim Noakes‚ the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) "finally" threw in the towel on Monday, after he tweeted that a mother should wean her baby on to a low-carb-high-fat diet.
"The matter is finished; there will be no further appeals. They are beaten. Thanks to all those who kept the faith during the darkest hours‚" Noakes tweeted on Monday.
It’s finally over. 4 years 5 months and 3 days after my innocuous response to @PippaLeenstra, the @HPCSA_ has finally thrown in the towel. The matter is finished; there will be no further appeals. They are beaten. Thanks to all those who kept the faith during the darkest hours. https://t.co/FzV6Ou3FNd— Tim Noakes (@ProfTimNoakes) July 9, 2018
The complaint against Noakes was laid with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) by dietician Claire Strydom‚ who was then the chairperson of the Association of Dieticians of SA.
Noakes told TimesLIVE in June: "The predominant feeling at the moment is one of intense relief. Relief that it is finally over and that the appeal judgment was again 100% in our favour as was the original judgment. This chapter is finally closed. I just hope that all the effort put in by myself and my team will help move the dietary guidelines forward to the benefit of the health of all South Africans."
Noakes won his case in April last year‚ but the HPCSA appealed the ruling and a new appeal committee‚ including a doctor and a lawyer‚ was established.
The issues at both hearings examined whether Noakes was giving "unconventional advice" over social media and whether he was treating Leenstra’s baby as a patient without conducting an examination. Doctors cannot treat patients over social media.
The appeal found there was no doctor-patient relationship between Noakes and Leenstra‚ who had used Twitter to ask for general advice.
In its appeal the HPCSA argued that the protection of public from tweets was paramount.
The panel found that the first panel was correct to agree with Noakes’s argument that: "Neither she [Strydom] or I can be certain of what is the best diet on to which to wean a child. As a result‚ we are allowed to draw our own conclusions based on professional experience and training."
What Noakes frequently said during the trial was that if he was banned from tweeting‚ it would affect all health professionals giving general medical advice on social media‚ or discussing controversial medical issues.
There was no order regarding costs‚ so the HPCSA is not required to pay Noakes’s legal fees.