Dear Margaret

April 14, 2011

Dear Margaret,

you will probably read this on chiropracticlive before our trusted Royal Mail has delivered this letter to you, but never mind, I would like to think the old-fashioned stamp still has a place… old romantic me.

I got your letter last week some time I think, I appreciate your warnings. So I just thought I’d let you know that it’s all right.

I am not that bothered. Despite the fact that I worked very hard to become a chiropractor, went to the right schools, got the right degrees, got the right marks,… despite all that, I am not that fetishistic about the name. That which we call a rose … and all that.

Out of courtesy I think you should know that I respect the regulatory process, but more than that I respect the people who thought it would be a good idea, all those years ago. The problem really was in the execution wasn’t it?

Funny thing is that I, of all people, one of 14 “chiropractors”, one from one of the largest “chiropractic” families, should waylay the name you so candidly regulated for the British. Please don’t think I have done so without thought or consideration, but considering you would make trouble for any of my friends, uncles or cousins coming over here from abroad and treating people, it was really no hardship to shed a name you seem to equate to mean no more than “being on the GCC’s books”. This hollow regulation has in my opinion tarnished it, almost made it dirty, too easy to get and inconsequential to get rid of. I personally consider many clinicians out there to be more chiropractor than many of the petty practitioners which this regulation protected in their mediocrity. You now understand that I personally allocate an entirely different meaning to the term and as you have the law on your side it stands that your choice of meaning is the one that goes.

What you (it may seem like I am picking on you here but you have become synonymous with chiropractic regulation) seem to never have cracked though (excuse the pun) is that being a chiropractor is not just about being something that can be regulated, it is also, and maybe primarily about an outlook on life, well-being and suffering.

You see, the thing is that despite the big offices, the committees, the salaries, the millions levied in registration fees and the legal hotbods, the exercise never really elevated itself from that of parliamentary endorsed trade-marking of the term “chiropractor”. The GCC really never progressed from there, and the regulatory process in place since 1994 in my eyes continues to be as tremendously meaningless to this date. I guess you must be thinking by now “Ah but the patients we have protected“. Nah, you see. I still hear as many bad things about mediocre clinicians, bad communicators and crooked chiropractors as I did 8 years ago when I first came on your books and the positive changes (the few) that did happen in the profession during that time had nothing to do with the GCC. In fact some of them happened to spite the GCC. The only thing the GCC really has done so far is made sure that people who didn’t go to the right school couldn’t call themselves “chiropractors”. I’d give you £100 a year for doing that job, but I’d expect you to do your home-work and crack down on GPs and Physiotherapists too, not just on Chiropractors who are not on your books.And then, let’s face it what is the point in that? Are they no good at treating back pain? Should they not be allowed to manipulate spines? And then we’re back to the crux of the matter: what does it mean to be a Chiropractor? And GCC’s own definition of Chiropractic applies to many other people’s understanding of what they do… so are they Chiropractors or not? Truth is they aren’t but only because they’re not on the GCC’s books…

Either way I wouldn’t give you £1K for that. So in conclusion: I’m not going to.

The last thing I wanted to say in closing is that the people on the council, and the people who dreamt and fought for regulation have all my respect, I just wish for their sake the exercise had more meaning. These were people who wanted to share their vision in chiropractic and pass on their success to others. Instead it got diluted to become the dish-water cuppa to their bone-china Darjeeling (to keep things British).

I am not going to wish you all the best in your retirement as I would love to know the true circumstances behind it and also believe your actions to have hurt friends (and non-friends) of mine personally and financially for no true regulatory reason, but neither will I wish you ill as I know we can be an awkward bunch to deal with.


Mr. Stefaan Vossen

BSc (Chiropractic Sciences) MSc (Chiropractic) DC (but no longer a Chiropractor)

Clinic Director

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  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Just wanted to note on the above point raised by Andrew Gilbey: I have now two additional practitioners who have joined the practice.

  • Desireeukuk

    Lol Stefaan
    Well said, the irony is that I am as a new graduate I am having a problem registering – all because my Rhodesian birth certificate has taken a walk… somewhere between moving between Africa and England and moving around England, (plus the stress of coping with a sick fiance who has now finished his chemo, and arranging a wedding) – the GCC will not accept an official UK embossed document with details of my proof of my birth – my Nationalization papers!!! I would not mind, but having been told them that the Harare embassy has stated not to use agents or send them the money in the post for a copy, due to the corruption of the country, the reply was that I need to try to get it… anyway, may get to come and observe again soon…

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    I’m liking all of that, particularly that of “defender of the Shuggazoom and later the Universe”.
    Problem is that I am 6’5, 15 stone, ginger and brown eyed… and I think the comparison will be called into question in a court of law…

  • Fedup

    Or maybe you live here,

    “Chiro is one of the 180 woredas in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia. Part of the Mirab Hararghe Zone, Chiro is bordered on the south by Kuni, on the west by Guba Koricha, on the northwest by Mieso, on the north by Doba, on the northeast by Tulo, and on the east by the Galetti River which separates it from Mesela and the Misraq Hararghe Zone. Towns in Chiro include Asebe Teferi and Kuni.

    The highest peak in Chiro is Mount Arba Gugu (3574 meters). Khat is an important cash crop of this woreda, but because it is a very perishable commodity and must be cultivated not too far from major markets or good roads, it is grown along the main road.[1] Coffee is another important cash crop, with over 5,000 hectares is planted with this crop.[2]“

  • Fedup

    Or even better,

    you are a “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! characters”

    “Chiro is 13 years old at the beginning of the series and turns 14 in mid season 1. He is 5’7″ and 125 lbs according to a promotional trading card Jetix created for the Super Robot Monkey Bowl 2. His hair is black and his eyes are blue. He pilots Torso Tank Driver 1, which forms the torso and limbs of the Super Robot. At first; Chiro is hesitant in accepting his role as leader of the Hyperforce, but gradually accepts his destiny of becoming a defender of Shuggazoom and later the universe. His girlfriend is Jinmay and the pair remain together throughout the series. In Circus of Ooze, it is revealed that Chiro is afraid of clowns. Chiro’s powers come from the Power Primate entity inside him. Played by Greg Cipes.”

  • Fedup

    You could say you are a member of this.

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    If I called myself “godzilla does it imply I am God?

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    That could be one test case, maybe one to go hand-in-hand with the one testing whether someone registered as a chiropractor in the EU can be stopped from calling themselves a chiropractor in the UK?

  • Andrew_Gibberish

    Chirozilla sounds like he might be a danger to Japanese cities, so I’m with Coatsie on this one.

  • Richard Lanigan

    apparently you cannot call yourself a chiropractitioner or a chiro therapist, however we only have Margaret Coats word for this, she says to even “imply” you are a chiropractor is a criminal offence. However I am not sure that argument would hold up in court. She would ring the police and say you called yourself “chirozilla” and therefore by implication you are calling yourself as chiropractor and are a danger to the public. I wonder what the police man would say?

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Hi Andrew,
    I will be making those changes fairly soon, thank you.
    Can you explain to me what you think the link is between “being busy” and “being a chiropractor”. I would love to know what your understanding of it all is. As Richard points out, my experience is that the two have nothing to do with eachother, but it may be that this is either different where you come from or that you have some misconception about what we rely on to be successful in our field.

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Macaroons Rod, Macaroons. I am not THAT Englishified yet…

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    On the @chirozilla twitterbio I state that I am a former chiropractor, but for good form I checked with my brief and it is pretty clear that it is only the term “chiropractor” which I cannot call myself… it’s actually really that very silly. Many clinicians don’t realise this, so I thought it migth be worthwhile communicating.
    I am considering @boneboy but that sounded quite camp…
    Hope you’re well,

  • Garland

    Actually I would phrase it just a bit differently. Of course this is my US perspective. You’re a chiropractor because you have the education and skills that a chiropractor has. The GCC can’t make you a chiropractor they can only regulate wether or not you can call yourself a chiropractor to the general public. You’ll always be a chiropractor practicing or not. When the GCC was set up they got it back to front. They decided to regulated the title and not the practice. Now it is possible to practice without being registered. As Richard states, it’s the practice that people pay for a not the title.

  • Colin Jenkins

    Does “chirozilla” need a tweak – kinda implies you are a chiropractor… But moot…

  • Richard Lanigan

    Andrew, the great thing about being really good at something is you dont need to be part of an organization to gain credibility. Your clients and patients go out and spread the word for you. All Stefaan is giving up is a title, its his knowledge, experience, and ability thats in demand.

  • rod

    So you are not a chiropractor and she is not a registrar. Will you bake cakes and join the WI?

  • Andrew_Gilbey


    Flipping heck! So you’ve put your money where your mouth is! Don’t forget to update your website ( as it still says you’re a chiropractor! Enjoy all the free time I suspect you’re soon going to have.

    Regards, Andrew

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    A substantial problem I feel, this thing about inferiority and consent,… Eleanor was onto something. I have spoken to so many chiropractors and clinicians over the past few years, and for some strange reason they feel afraid, feel their livelihoods are at stake. As if any one term or organisation or group of misguided zealots could control their destiny.
    I might just live in a very happy place and be the weird one in this equation, but I can only tell each and everyone of them the same thing: your reality is largely what you create it to be. Some take more work than others, but it all just comes down to whether you are willing enough to make your preferred reality real. If you’re not then blame only yourself for your lack of desire and willpower. If you are, then reap the benefits and enjoy its fruits, but always remember that shit does, sometimes, happen.

  • Richard Lanigan

    Well said Stefaan and said with dignity. To all others thinking of resigning from the register, I would remind you of Eleanor Roosevelts words “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

    The GCC will become a vaneer a respectability for bad chiropractors. I can say how good I am, I can “specialise” in providing chiropractic care for whoever I like. The next 9 months are going to be long ones for the others now that Margaret has jumped ship and left them to fend for themselves.

  • Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Dear God, sorry to disturb you but… ah no, that was XTC

  • Barney


  • Fedup

    Stefaan Vossen XDC (ex chiropractor)


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