NHS 'functional foods' dietician exonerated

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

British National Health Service dietician, Katie Peck who faced a disciplinary hearing conducted by the Health Professions Council (HPC) for alleged incompetence after recommending functional foods has been exonerated.

A hearing in London conducted by the council’s Conduct and Competence Committee concluded that: “….in all the circumstances there was no case to answer in respect of the…allegations and sub-allegations and that there was insufficient evidence before it which could lead to a finding that the remaining allegations were well founded. Therefore this case is concluded. This case was not well founded​.”

But the panel noted that Peck should have kept more comprehensive patient notes. “The Panel determined that some of the allegations could be seen to demonstrate a lack of performance as opposed to a lack of competence e.g. inadequate note taking….,” ​according to the judgment published on the council’s website (www.hpc-uk.org).

Allegations

In reaching its judgment, the Panel also noted the steps taken by Peck to address the issues which had been raised in the allegations. Peck had a mentor and was in regular contact with her and had provided details of her continuing professional development.

In addition, Peck provided a number of positive testimonials from members of the medical profession and her own patients.

The allegations concerned Peck’s performance during her maternity cover for a senior nutritionist between October 2006 and May 2007 at Coxheath Centre Diabetes Clinic, near Maidstone in Kent.

Included in more than 60 specific allegations against Peck’s professional conduct published on HPC website were charges that she recommended patients to:

  • Avoid caffeine and replace with water and green tea (when suffering from type 2 diabetes) without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Eat bio live yoghurt without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Use of chromium supplementation without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Take 500mg of Vitamin C daily without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Take co enzyme Q10, 2000mg of fish oil supplement and a vitamin supplement to provide chromium, without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Increase iodine intake through seaweed, kelp granules or thyroxine, without providing a clinical reason for doing so.
  • Take milk thistle without providing a clinical reason to do so.
  • Drink dandelion tea and goat’s milk without providing a clinical reason to do so.
  • Use multivitamin/B complex without providing a clinical reason to do so.
  • Continue taking multivitamin, omega fish oil, vitamin C/bioflavonoid complex and co-enzyme Q10 supplement without providing any clinical reasons to do so.
  • It is further alleged that Peck: Referred to specific brands and appeared to promote or advertise these brands, kept poor patient notes and did not note the advice given to the patient and incorrectly measured a patient’s waist above clothing and five inches above the patient’s navel.

The case against Peck followed a complaint from Sally Norris, whose role Peck was covering, after she returned to work. Norris was the sole witness who gave evidence against Peck.

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