HPCSA inquiry

A concern was lodged with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a matter of public interest after a tweet from Professor Tim Noakes advising a mother to “wean” her baby on to a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diet.

The concern was referred to the HPCSA to adjudicate in February 2014 on behalf of members of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). Following a preliminary hearing last year, the HPCSA has decided to convene an inquiry into the conduct of Professor Tim Noakes. They will then rule on the matter.

The advice, via Twitter, is not considered to be in accordance with both international (WHO Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child) and national (South African Paediatric Food Based Dietary Guidelines) feeding guidelines for infant and young child nutrition. Furthermore giving one on one nutrition advice on social media to a patient who has not been assessed, as well as providing information outside of the scope of practice for which you are registered with the council is in contravention of the HPCSA ethical guidelines.

“I look forward to a resolution of this matter that will provide clarity on complementary feeding recommendations for infants and young children. It should also set a precedent on how social media should be used by health professionals. Clarity on these issues will help to advance health care in South Africa in the interest of the public. It should also clear any public and professional confusion on these issues,” said Claire Julsing Strydom, President of the ADSA.

20 thoughts on “HPCSA inquiry

  1. Pingback: Happening now | fatplease

  2. Pingback: What’s going on with ADSA and Tim Noakes? | Nathalie Mat, Registered Dietitian based in Johannesburg

    • David Rhodes

      Exactly. The witch hunt should be on those forcing the high carb diet down our throats (literally). When this thing comes home to roost, though, there’s going to be a whole load of people with a whole load of questions to answer. I bet you that Marthie Leach ate bacon and eggs fried in coconut oil for breakfast this morning.


  3. Per Consultus

    Silly “concern”. Call it what you will, but be ready for humiliation in defeat. The guidelines are set by the very people who stand to benefit from the consequences of their effects…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Professor Tim Noakes

    There are errors in this “statement”. First the complaint was originally reported by Ms Strydom in her personal capacity. Second the hearing will not consider whether or not I was acting outside my scope of practice. Clearly I was not. Doctors have been advising about nutrition since antiquity. My research, teaching and writings establish me as a medical doctor with a special interest in nutrition. Indeed I published my first scientific study of a low carbohydrate intervention in 1980 in the Journal of Physiology.
    In comparison, my understanding is that the profession of dietetics was first established globally in the 1960s and only more recently in South Africa.
    It will certainly be most interesting to discovering whether what I tweeted is “not in accordance” with international guidelines and if a Twitter interaction establishes a doctor-patient relationship. If it does, then there are a number of interesting implications for the future practice of medicine.
    I and my team look forward to addressing all these issues amongst a host of others in the re-scheduled HPCSA hearing in November/December 2015.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. bazpaine

    No mention of specific ADSA members conflict of interest in this matter? Prof Noakes being unfairly set up to take the fall due to their blatant vested interests in the industry to which he was referring against. Sigh. You shall not prevail. It is actually laughable. His supporters will prove you wrong. He will prove you wrong.


    • Patrick Frickel

      Yip, Claire Julsing Strydom, President of the ADSA consults for Kellogg’s the makers of Cocoa Pops and other healthy foods. Conflict of interest not at all…just doing my job. Would love to know if she feeds her kids Cocoa Pops for breakfast.


  6. Curious about actual charge sheet which uses the words “unconventional advice”. Since when is it a crime to be unconventional? How is unconventional defined ? Is it OK to give conventional advice to patients via twitter ? Seems fairly confused.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave P

    Follow the money and you will find why the HPCSA & the ASDA are so concerned with Prof Noakes. Prof Noakes is a shining star and has nothing to hide. If only there were more of him to stand up for the rest of us who can’t!


  8. Eric Rabe

    Once again, ADSA and their President shows their complete lack of intelligence by releasing the wrong statement. Idiotic, incompetant (as usual). We salute you Prof Tim Noakes. Need more of your brilliant mind. Equal to the great legends of our time.


  9. Dian Gordon

    LMAO! Abby Courtenay, ask via twitter for Prof Tim Noakes comments on article because she could not find it? Seriously….? Do you NOT read? All comments at end of article. Sjeeeeez, SA had enough of dietician mentalities!


  10. Thinus

    This case is a real problem for the HPCSA! If Prof Noakes transgressed the rules with his tweet because he is apparently not a qualified dietician and acted in contravention of the HPCSA ethical guidelines, then a lot of GP’s and specialists are permanently in contravention of the HPCSA ethical guidelines when they provide nutritional advise to their patients if they are not qualified dieticians. The implication of a guilty verdict on the basis of the transgression of scope will prohibit cardiologists from giving nutritional advise as they will be in contravention of the HPCSA ethical guidelines when they advise their patients to cut down on eating fat :-).An alternative to the HPCSA is to change the charge to reckless or unsubstantiated advise. In that case the HPCSA or complainant must scientifically proof that Prof Noakes’ advise was reckless or unsubstantiated – good luck to them with that one!


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