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 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)
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