Its getting harder and harder for Coats and Dixon to mislead the profession. There is a paper trail, You just need to know where to look in GCC “closed” minutes.

November 25, 2010

Vote-NO Coats and Dixon were in Birmingham today telling the gathered chiropractors how passionate they are about chiropractic. Apparently Margaret Coats sees a chiropractor regularly, I am sorry I dont buy that, she knows so little about chiropractic and  who would be stupid enough to take on a patient, who might write to Alan Hennes informing them of possible breaches of the code of practice urging him to complain to the Investigating Committee.

GCC chairman Dixon was all smiles in Birmingham, as he is in the latest GCC newsletter where he tells the profession that he has found the consultation with the profession “enjoyable and challenging in equal measure – all have generated thoughtful feedback to which we will listen. One of the advantages of meeting chiropractors face to face is that it’s easier to explain the context of the proposals we’re consulting upon, answer questions fully, try to allay anxieties and knock a few myths on the head”.

Excuse me while I throw up.

Just as in 2006 when he ignored the professions lack of confidence in the regulator describing the survey that found 77% of chiropractors had no confidence in the GCC as questionable. We dont seem to have access to that newsletter anymore on the GCC website In Birmingham today there was no mention of the meeting of 17th of November when presumably they were told that  none of the chiropractic associations had confidence in  them and they must be under  pressure to go and I hear an Extraordinary meeting of the GCC has been called by Dixon.

The last EGM Dixon called was to have me removed for calling Coats a liar, my solicitor from  Russell, Jones and Walker explained that although Coats had not provided the council with correct information that did not make her a liar and I was advised to withdraw the remark which I did.

During this time it came to my attention that Coats had been consulting my law firm on another matter and  there was a concern that there could have been a conflict of interest. I never found out why she had consulted with Russell, Jones and Walker who were not the GCC solicitors, but the suspicion was that if she could not get me removed from council she was angling for a case of constructive dismissal and would have been represented by someone from Russsel, Jones and Walker. GCC members were terrified of this scenario because they would not have had the money to pay her off and I suspect she may now return to this cash cow.

Another little bit of “misinformation” Coats and Dixon told the gathered chiropractors today was that they could not have known the ASA would take the  line they have on chiropractic, so let me help and jog their memory.

At the November 2007 closed meeting of council Coats announced to us that she had made complaints to the ASA about claims being made by Christian Farthing DC and Peter Olsen DC. I  asked what the complaints were about and she and she responded with  a dismissive “Why do you want to know”?” I said as these guys trained as chiropractors and were practicing chiropractic any claims they were making were relevant to registered chiropractors who could be making the same claims as usual I was a lone voice and no one paid any attention to what would become a tsunami for the profession in 2009.

All Coats could think about was these people were able to work and she wanted to put any obstacle she could find in their way. I have asked the ASA who their chiropractic experts are? They declined to provide that information but I can give one guess and I would bet the majority of  complaints about chiropractic to the ASA were made by the GCC about trained chiropractors who choose not to be on the register

So if Coats and Dixon told you today that they had no idea that the ASA would take this line on chiropractic advertising remind them of the the complaints Coats made to the ASA.

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62 Responses to Its getting harder and harder for Coats and Dixon to mislead the profession. There is a paper trail, You just need to know where to look in GCC “closed” minutes.

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  2. Richard Lanigan on December 9, 2010 at 16:28

    Well said Dr Bilbo, Paul I understand your fustration and I am more than capable of lowering the tone of any converstaion. However you and I know that there are skeptics like Colin who ask good questions and I enjoy engaging with him and then there are the “bigots”. Yhey are not intersted in answers. They are prejudiced and there is nothing you are I can say or do to change their view of the CAM world, they want to wind us up and conform to the image they have of our profession.

    Who has more to contribute to the well being of this country, you or skepticat. The fact she does not realise this and thinks we are all uneducated quacks hanging out in carparks is like someone insisting the world is flat or the end is neigh.

    And who gives a shit what skepticat thinks?

  3. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 9, 2010 at 09:12


    Sorry, my comment was not based on the sentiment of your post nor in fact the frustration you feel, but on my assumption that anyone who has completed a chiropractic degree with all that that entails, would have the intellect and education to communicate in a far more even manner, especially on a public forum. You are a chiropractor I presume? If not please ignore my comments.

    As a post script; it is my understanding, if the other posters are correct, that skepticat is Alan Henesses’ (Zeno’s) partner. There was even suggestion that although Henness has a degree in IT, that Skepticat was a housewife with no formal tertiary education, but she denies that. She has jumped on the bandwagon and skeptic feeding frenzy based on what she presumes chiropractic in general to be and doggedly holds that opinion. This in itself suggest an inability or unwillingness to be fair handed.  Also, if the information gleaned  from snippets from her own posts, she is now,  along with Henness one of the three founders of the Nightingale Collaboration (NC) or the Justice League of America as they would like to see themselves. This a group of super heroes out to save the world from free will and CAM if the mission statement they have published is to be believed. It is not, as skepticat has posted, a principled group that will fight for robust evidence and against false advertising claims, wherever they may find it in healthcare. She has either  blatantly lied in her penultimate post on this blog, has been given a line of nonsense from her partners in the NC, not read the mission statement or the NC are not sure of what they actually stand for and are playing to the skeptic gallery. I will be gallant and suggest it is one of the last three.

    As Stefaan has said in the past, the NC could be a good thing for healthcare in general if, as others have said, they didn’t carry with them the bigotry and unfair attitude they have shown towards the chiropractic profession. So I sympathise with your frustration, as it is obvious that what skepticat and others would like the general public to believe, seems a bit far from the truth. Some may even say her credibility lies in tatters

  4. Paul on December 8, 2010 at 20:42

    @ Guthrie and Dr. Bilbo

    I have neither the time or inclination to engage some asshole who is so blinkered he is unwilling to listen, too stupid to understand the evidenc e(or the inter professional politics into which he/she has been dragged) or is too involved in enjoying the masturbation of his/her own ego they are unable to listen.

    I would rather stop and describe in realtime the nature of skeptidick and bring it to the conclusion it warrants.

  5. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 8, 2010 at 13:29


    Sadly I must totally agree.

    If there is an excuse, and I dont believe there is, emotion is a wonderful thing as can be seen by some of the abuse prochiropractic posters get on the skeptic sites to include and skepticat? I am not sure I have found anything in such strong language but to be called untrustworthy, unethical and uneducated is just as offensive and may have stimulated Pauls rather base rant?

    But again not really an excuse from where I sit and not helping the debate.


    I agree the Nightingale Collaboration could be a very positive thing but if you plant a tree in either infertile or toxic soil, it will either die or grow stunted and twisted in it’s form. Let’s waitt and see. At present their whole purpose is to denounce CAM rather than what they concider mainstream, irrelevant of evidence or in fact the lack of it?


    We write for the readers, to put over the truth of the matter and appreciate you may just stay curled in your basket, licking the wounds to your credibility and not to be seen again outside your skeptic comfort zone. Of course you could always send you partner, Zeno or even better blue woad, they will always raise a smile or two.

  6. Stefaan Vossen on December 8, 2010 at 11:58

    one example of my producing a tu quoque fallacy in any of my posts please. You should be able to as you state that my comments are packed full of them.
    I will be charitable to you: I have nothing against anyone denouncing a scammer to be a scammer. I have something against people assuming that a scamming chiropractor is representative of chiropractic. I have said many times to you that the lack of distinction and refinement you exert in your assumptions is where you fall down. For the rest I have no beef with you, but I will not allow an outside source with limited inside knowledge make blanket inference just because they cannot distinguish in a refined manner. If you lack refinement it is down to you to either substantiate the appropriateness of such lack of refinement or conversely state and substantiate the reason why there is no need for it. Logic and experience dictate that to approximate truth one must refine,… so I doubt you will be able to.
    In regards to logic classes; you are making assumptions again. Primarily that I am at all interested in the packaging of wording and/or phrasology. I am only interested in meaning.
    The meaning of your blogs is: there are bad people out there. in that regards I have complimented on the Nightingale collaboration many times by now. Any generalising statement you make on the other hand is just inflammatory drivel created from a mind that sees the world in such a way that it would be appropriate to produce it.
    Traumatised or scarred, I don’t care, that’s your problem. You trying to traumatise and scar others I care about, that IS my problem. Call it a sense of duty and belonging, but don’t delude yourself, please. It makes it all look a little sad frankly and worse still jeopardises what could potentially be a fantastic exercise (the nightingale collaboration). Anyway good luck,

  7. Guthrie Steer on December 8, 2010 at 11:35

    @ Paul

    I really wince reading that kind of vitrol. What’s with the phallic obsession.?? In the context of any argument on any subject, aggressive name calling like that just undermines any point you might have & further polarizes any further discussion.

    Particularly when Dr Baggins is pointing out that on the other side, much milder insults ‘could easily confirm readers opinions of your inability to debate without a rant’.

  8. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 8, 2010 at 09:55


    …and your comment ‘vile people’ could easily confirm readers opinions of your inability to debate without a rant, and of course your bigotry, unfairness and bias against the other posters here who just happen to have a different but just as valid, slant on things to you?

    Yet you ask the readers here to trust your motives. I am sure they can make their own minds up after this.

    I do appreciate it Is not as easy scoring in away games, and that is why you have banned people who have from your blog?

    Some may even sympathise and say that maybe you should stay at home with Alan where it is safe and warm? Of course if this goes according to how you have set the rules for your own site then a gaggle of skeptics will attack with banal comments of just how wonderful you are. Better get on the phone because your credibility may just be shot to bits on here?

  9. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 8, 2010 at 01:23


    Having let you digest my last post and accepting you may have ran away with your tail between your kegs as it were,  may I also interject with these points incase you come back for another peak and of course for the other readers to consider

     As others have stated before me, then the difficulty you have in trying to deal with ‘misinformation in healthcare advertising’ based on robust evidence and your need to protect the public is;  

    there seems to be procedures commonly used in the NHS without efficacy/evidence, if a recent published paper were to be believed. This must put your altruism and  more importantly your ability to critically analyse, using the self imposed mechanisms to critique the chiropractic profession, in doubt and may leave any of your arguments in total disarray?

      Of course you could be honest in your response and openly accept the possibility that there are obviously procedures which work, based on clinician experience and patient feedback and satisfaction, where the evidence may not be robust? 

    Or is that ok because these procedures are carried out in the NHS?

     I ask that because, allegedly when Simon Singh was questioned about the existing evidence for physiotherapy his answer was, physiotherapy doesn’t need evidence it is part of mainstream medicine? Strange thing to say if true, especially if robust evidence is the base from where your decisions on who to attack and any criticisms on the lack of evidence, are made?

    Isn’t Simon Singh also part of the new all encompassing Nightingale Collaboration (launched at TAM London by Simon Singh, Alan Henness and Maria MacLachlan) and if the previous statement is true, how does that bode for the function and fairness of this new group?

     Continuing along that line, you wrote the following in your defence;

    ‘The Nightingale Collaboration will hopefully result in many more of the false claims made by practitioners being challenged, so you can stop flattering yourselves that you’re the only ones being picked on. Now read the next bit carefully because I’m fed up of repeating it:

    It doesn’t matter whether the person who makes a misleading claim is a doctor, a dentist, a chiro, a homeopath or anything else. What matters is that misinformation in healthcare advertising should be accurate so that people can make informed choices on what to spend their money on and any healthcare service or product provider who makes misleading claims is fair game.’

    Having read the last paragraph carefully as requested and if it’s blurb is to be believed, and it was widely published on skeptic websites, the Nightingale Collaboration will only look at CAM and not at non-CAM practitioners as you suggested here and in prior postings. 

     I therefore accept that you need to excuse yourself from this debate as it is pretty obvious that what you say or ask the readers to believe, doesn’t  necessarily seem to reflect what is factual. But then that has been the argument all along. 

    Finally in your last post, you resort to name calling. I think ‘vile people’ was the term used?  Isn’t that rather petty and not really reflecting the comments of one who it seems wishes people to believe them to be a fair-minded and articulate adult, if you don’t then that’s ok of course.

      But then haven’t you been challenged in the past for using a similar approach, especially as you seem to have used the same argument to ban Stefaan and others from your own blog or could this just be another example of double standards?

  10. Richard Lanigan on December 8, 2010 at 01:12

    Skepticat I dont know why you bother, because you are talking absolute shite, for example “Richard, of course anyone who’s been ripped off by a chiro would be delighted for us to give a chiro blogger their story and of course hearing their story would completely change your mind about things. Oh, please”.

    Like all professions we have some crooks in ours, I am just amazed you have not been able to find any of these chiropractic victims you are professing to be helping. 3 or four times I have had patients come in telling me how they had been ripped off by a chiropractor, I would have thought you guys would have uncovered hundreds so I am now thinking things are not as bad as I thought.

    You write like you know me. If you had done your research you would have read my statement when I was thrown off the GCC council You would know I had made a complaint about a chiropractor who had tried to corece £2,000 out of a patient 2002 and the GCC brushed it under the carpet, (it was rumoured that one of your friends at the GCC had received money to make the complaint go away) .

    You make these generalisations about me and colleagues because a chiropractor hit on you in some car park and then you say you are not prejudiced?

    I complained to the GCC because a chiropractor tried to rip off a member of the public, Zeno complained because he enjoys it and likes moron baiting. I hope you can see that there is a big difference in our motives.

    So how about you lot doing something usefull and getting behind my snow removal campaign. That is if you genuinely want to help the “wider community”??

  11. Paul on December 8, 2010 at 01:04


    Perhaps I will be the first to call it as it is – you are a self absorbed prick willing to get on the skepdick bandwagon against CAM therapies (most specifically chiropractic) rather than taking on your medico pharma buddies killing your neighbours and members of your commnunity everyday.

    Prick, Dick, Ego self masturbator, usual tosser and possibly on the dole soon.

    Skepidick you have proven yourself with your troll blog and troll post on here to have too much time on your hands unfortunately.

    As Richard suggested get to grips with something real in your community past your ego penis.

  12. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 7, 2010 at 23:24


    Actions of course, speak a lot louder than words. With respect to claims being made by all colours of practitioners as you suggest, surely whether outside or inside the NHS it is the evidence for a procedure offered/ used/ promoted, that has been your argument against chiropractors and therefore maybe should be all encompassing in your approach when saving the general public from itself.

  13. skepticat on December 7, 2010 at 23:14

    No need to respond, Bilbo. I’m sure you’ve said it all before and I’ve more important things to do than keep defending good people to vile people. I’m done here.

  14. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 7, 2010 at 23:04

    @ skepticat

    Posters that pass in the night. We must have been penning our thoughts at the same time. I will peruse and respond if I feel it appropriate.

  15. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 7, 2010 at 23:01


    By choosing to ignore my post, I presume you accept my statements as being factual. I thank you for that.

  16. Skepticat on December 7, 2010 at 22:58

    Almost left poor Bilbo out!


    “your banning of those who disagree”

    Why, how very dishonest of you, Bilbo. You should be careful, that ‘profession’ you belong to seems to be getting a reputation for that!

    If you have seen my blog you will know that there are hundreds of comments, a large number of which disagree with me. The majority of those who disagree with me are quite abusive. Have they been banned? No. Have their comments been censored? No. Only two people have been banned – not because they disagree but for reasons I explained in the link I helpfully provided. And none of their posts were censored – they are still there in all their shameful glory. I fully understand why you would…let’s say ‘bend the truth’ about me in your posts though. ;)

    I’m afraid you don’t redeem yourself in the rest of your comment. I have proved neither unwilling nor unable to take on board the point you make and have responded to it numerous times. Stefaan knows. He was there the last time but appeared neither willing nor able to comprehend the response, which I repost here. No need to change a word except to replace Bruce’s name with yours:

    >> “I knew I was being a bit charitable when I characterised his “argument” as that we should challenge both unsupported mainstream as well as scam therapies because that sounds like quite a reasonable position to take. It is the “both inside and outside the NHS” qualification that shifts it from being quite reasonable to quite absurd, and it indicates that it is Bruce, in fact, who is missing the point. The point being, of course, that what skeptics challenge are the false claims made in the promotion of therapies. I’m sure we all agree that if any orthodox physicians in private practice are selling their services by making unsupportable and implausible claims on the web or in advertising, then they should be challenged just like the chiros, the homeopaths and anyone else. The purpose of challenging false claims is to stop people wasting their money and, in some cases, endangering their health. But if no claims are being made in the public arena then there is nothing that most of us are in a position to challenge.

    The tu quoque fallacy is much favoured by apologists for scam. I usually respond to challenges like ‘what about all those harmful mainstream treatments’ by asking them for a specific example and to tell me what they think I can do about it that will actually make a difference. I’ve never yet had an answer.”

    Btw Stefaan, the widely-accepted definition tu quoque (see wiki) is the one I am using. If I may say so, you are hardly qualified to lecture me on logical fallacies. The reason your drive to persuade critics to take a different view of chiropractic has backfired so spectacularly is largely because your arguments are packed full of them.

    The Nightingale Collaboration will hopefully result in many more of the false claims made by practitioners being challenged, so you can stop flattering yourselves that you’re the only ones being picked on. Now read the next bit carefully because I’m fed up of repeating it:

    It doesn’t matter whether the person who makes a misleading claim is a doctor, a dentist, a chiro, a homeopath or anything else. What matters is that misinformation in healthcare advertising should be accurate so that people can make informed choices on what to spend their money on and any healthcare service or product provider who makes misleading claims is fair game.

    Got it now?

  17. Skepticat on December 7, 2010 at 22:46

    @Guthrie. Thanks the reassuring response. I’m clearly in no danger of your trying actually engage with anything I’ve said.

    Ditto@Richard. Yes, Richard, of course anyone who’s been ripped off by a chiro would be delighted for us to give a chiro blogger their story and of course hearing their story would completely change your mind about things. Oh, please!


    Oops your true colours are showing though again. I thought it couldn’t last.

    I have never been “moron-baiting” in my life and I certainly don’t consider listening to a couple of chiros talking drivel “fun”. I make it clear on my blog that the reason I give any CAM practitioner the time of day is because I want to hear what they say and see what they do and report my findings on my blog for other people to take or leave as they see fit. I rather thought those of you who accuse us of knowing nothing about chiropractic would approve of this. Can’t win, can I?

    Remember, I didn’t seek these people out. The chiros in question both thrust “introductory offers” at me when I was haplessly out shopping on a Saturday. If my blog posts stop just one person being lured by what I consider to be a bunch of barefaced scammers then the effort will have been worth it.

    I also make clear that my opinion on both chiropractors and chiropractic is based on what I personally know about it – ‘anecdotal evidence’, if you like – and I neither know nor care about the difference between one brand of chiro and another. The chiros I saw didn’t say which club they belong to. What I care about is people making false claims to my face and trying to get me to pay for unnecessary procedures like the chiros I saw did. I also care about people being misled by claims made on websites like the ones Alan and Simon complained about.

    Instead of getting all ‘People’s Front of Judea’ and bemoaning my lack of distinction between this and that, think of it this way: my blog posts are somewhat like word of mouth recommendations. I don’t believe you’d object if any blogger wrote praising chiropractic in general on the basis of one good visit to a chiro. Well that’s just like what I’m doing. Only the opposite. I’m sure thinking of my blog like this will help you keep things in perspective.

    (Sorry if that comes across as patronising but your theatrical and sanctimonious accusations about ‘masquerading behind humanism’ deserve no better.)

    You obviously found the conversation you had with your wife enthralling but I’m not sure why you felt the need to post it in the first place, let alone copy it here. The question I would ask her is.

    “What would you call somebody who knows nothing about you yet asserts that the reason you don’t see things their way is because you are ‘traumatised’, ‘deeply emotionally scarred’?”

    I expect her answer would be the same. Her refinement seems somewhat ironic in the circumstances. Tell your wife that setting up a blog is a piece of cake, as is closing one down. People do it all the time. They change their minds. They start up new blogs. They can even change their minds on the same blog, as I have done. It’s simple. And it doesn’t cost a penny.

    On the other hand…making a huge investment in terms of both time and money to train for an occupation which leads to comfortable living and all of a sudden finding one’s livelihood supposedly threatened….now I can see why that would lead to a closed mind to any challenges.

  18. Dr Bilbo Baggins on December 7, 2010 at 09:18

    @ skepticat

    Your reputation based on your previous posts on your own and other sites and your banning of those who disagree, would probably preclude the adjective ‘altruistic’  when describing your motives.

     My understanding is that although this has been said before by other posters, your  unwillingness or inability to take the comments on board would suggest a repeat of the information is required and although I paraphrase, the message is there for all to see.

    ‘When you and your entourage begin looking at medicine, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology, dentistry etc under the same rules of critical investigation as you have deemed it appropriate to critique the chiropractic profession, both internal to and external to the NHS’ then I am sure the term of BIGOT may be dropped. 

    Until then the evidence is obviously very strongly against you.


  19. Richard Lanigan on December 7, 2010 at 00:12

    Sketicat states that I appear to be so blinkered that I can’t see that it is “wanting to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the wider human community that we belong to that motivates us to challenge those who make unsupported claims directly the public that could lead to our wasting our time and money and – at worst – be detrimental to our health”.

    I am a child of the 60s I can dig that, make love not war, flower power.Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds many times.

    The problem I have with this claim is Skepticat et al have failed to produce any people that have been misled or ripped offby chiropractors. I do not dispute that chiropractors did not use good copywriters when designing their websites but you would think after having found so many badly presented websites Zeno would have found one or two witnesses who had been ripped off just one or two to back up his claims to the GCC. The fact is Skeoticat et al are “moron baiting”, and Steffan is “moran baiting” and we have have never banned or censored anyone on this site.

    Now if you guys do see yourselves as public protectors, a 21st century group of super heroes and you are not just prejudiced towards touchy feely CAM practitioners. I have the very campaign for you guys ; snow clearance.

    Thousands of people get injured on icy pavements because people cant be arsed to help their neighbours and clear snow off their footpath. I am sure you and Zeno would have got up early and cleared your footpaths, like I did to protect “the wider human community that we belong to” so I look forward to see you promoting this issue in the future rather than wasting your time trying to wind us quacks up.

  20. Stefaan Vossen on December 6, 2010 at 21:43

    Hi Skepticat,
    it’s Stefaan. One ‘f’ two a’s.
    If it wasn’t for fun you went moron-baiting in visiting the practices you went to see, then what was it for? Now you know why I went to visit your blog.
    It is sickening how the actions of few undescrimiately affect the livelihood of the many. This and this alone is why I stand up to people like you who masquerade behind there humanism but it is nothing more than expression of a petty superiority complex.
    You speak about standing up against the chiropractic nonsense and I point out to you that it is not “chiropractic” but individual practitioners’ nonsense you ought to rally against. You, however have at no point differentiated the philosophy from the practise from the practitioner, primarily, I would suggest to avoid slander. The only thing I have ever pointed out to you in no uncertain terms is the inadequacy of your argument, the false foundational principle of your argument and the self-righteous nature of your argument. Florence Nightingale…deluded or what?
    To jog your memory I posted this to you:
    “I asked my wife this morning:
    Q: “what do you call someone who attacks you, and then is surprised you defend yourself?”
    A: “an idiot”
    She did refine it further later on with “but don’t expect them to change their mind if they have gone to the lengths of setting up a blog about it”
    As is often the case, she is probably right”
    In consequence I was the “troll”, the meany who enjoys playing with you and point out the mistakes you make, in the same way you point out mine. I think that is fair exchange of wares, and that my dear is what life is all about.
    For my colleagues who are hard-working and representing good quality assessment and treatment I say: I salute you all and do not let these people make you believe that you are wrong to be a chiropractor. It is one of the greatest professions in the world, but is difficult to comprehend and embody the full value of. This is why so many fail to do so.
    Kindest regards to my fellow practitioners.
    To Sceptic Puss:
    This really is only the beginning

  21. Guthrie Steer on December 6, 2010 at 21:06

    @ Skepticat:

    On behalf of the ‘wider human community’, I would like to say …Thanks Skepticat – you’re great..!

    Going by the tone of your site, it really is amazing how anyone could have got you so wrong. You are indeed the epitome of polite wisdom and considered judgment, clearly based a deep scientific and clinical understanding – and always so reasonable with it.

    Now I understand & I believe we can make the world a better place… A better place for me & for you…

    Come on Skeppers – sing it..!

    ….We are the world….We are the children..! *air grab*

  22. Skepticat on December 6, 2010 at 17:40

    I’ve just seen this comment from Richard:

    “Was it Skepticat ( a humanist who lives by the golden rule) who banned you from her site..”

    Indeed it was I who banned Steffan from my site and let me remind you the reason:

    There couldn’t be a greater contrast between the intelligent and constructive contributions Steffan has made to the discussion on this thread and the comments he left on my blog. If Steffan had only managed to refrain from being repeatedly condescending and insulting then he would never have got banned from my blog.

    I’m sorry that Richard and Bilbo and others appear to be so blinkered that they can’t see that it is wanting to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the wider human community that we belong to that motivates us to challenge those who make unsupported claims directly the public that could lead to our wasting our time and money and – at worst – be detrimental to our health. You may think it’s OK, for example, for a homeopath to claim to be able to treat cancer but it isn’t and you don’t have to know anything about either homeopathy or cancer to challenge that claim through regulatory bodies if you have a sneaking suspicion that it is inaccurate. Exactly the same applies to any other unsupportable claim made for any other therapy and the individuals you criticise each have a long history of successfully challenging such misinformation, thereby contributing the improved safety of the general public. I think we can all live with a few embittered chiros calling us names but your bitterness appears to be impeding your ability think critically and argue rationally. Take Bilbo’s comment, for example:

    “Which leads us onto the reasons of the complaints. These were not based on a skeptical stance, but simply to support Singh in his battle with the BCA.”

    Complaining to the GCC about misinformation on chiros websites helps Simon Singh in his courtcase with the BCA….how, exactly? Is that what made their Lordships find in Singh’s favour at the last hearing, do you think? Really?

    All the BCA v Singh case did was highlight the false claims many chiros were making to people already committed to challenging such misinformation and with a record for doing so. But if it makes you feel better to see yourselves as the innocent victims of nasty bullies out to “destroy a profession” just for fun rather than people who’ve been caught out making misleading claims concerning people’s health then don’t let me stop you deluding yourselves.

  23. CDC on December 1, 2010 at 11:09

    Spot on Richard. You have a very clear thought and you communicate it excellent! I wish we had your caliber in my association.

  24. Stefaan Vossen on December 1, 2010 at 10:53

    ps. if it is not fair comment, and the behaviour does not stop even when the reaction is not elicited it can mean one of two things: our evaluation was incorrect and/or the remedy not potent enough, or the bully is in fact a sociopath. The good news is that the sociopath doesn’t make it far in society and some of the people who call themselves skeptics are indeed reputation-defending or nomadic antisocial types; but no need to worry, the internet does not allow for throwing stick and stones. Not really anyway.

  25. Stefaan Vossen on December 1, 2010 at 10:43

    I once heard a great definition of “the bully”.
    The bully is a person who for a wide number of reasons enjoys the process of eliciting a negative emotional reactions. Because of this liking for eliciting negative emotions, and the basic human need to repeat behaviours which are perceived to be enjoyable, the bully is encouraged to repeat the behaviour which elicited the desired reaction.
    At the most basic level this means that the bully is typified by a liking for creating negative emotional reaction. The bullying victim is typified by their need to have this emotional reaction elicited in them.
    This may seem like a strange choice of words and appears to put the onus of responsibility on the bullied. this only seems strange because it challenges the cultural convention that “bullying is bad”, giving the bullied party the moral/ethical high-ground. I personally don’t subscribe to that (in my opinion slightly simplistic) school of thought as it is potentially inviting of weakness/mediocrity. This is of course limited and protected by the clear boundaries of toleration, which I do subscribe to (which is why I must tolerate the intolerant) and which does not allow for threats to my safety and those for whom I am responsible. Basically: sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me….
    So what do we do? We start off by realising that if they are hurting us, it’s firstly because we let them, secondly because we encourage them and lastly because we generate the desired reaction.
    Then we go and assess what, if anything, about our situation encourages the bully to target us, and why the bullying elicits the negative emotion in us. Then we make a choice: remedy the deficits IF it is fair comment (i.e. there is any sense of “truth” in it), which will then, in due course, discourage the bullying behaviour. Alternatively, if there is no fair comment, we can alter the emotional reaction which will again in due course discourage the bullying behaviour. So what does this mean to chiropractors? Draw your own conclusions. I have drawn mine and am having lots of fun, am learning a lot about my profession’s weaknesses, my own weaknesses and am becoming a more and more successful practitioner. As far as I am concerned that is all that matters to the people who matter the most to me as a chiropractor: my patients.
    kind regards,

  26. Richard Lanigan on November 30, 2010 at 23:48

    Bigots get their jollies winding up minorities, in this case its CAM practitioners, they call it “moron baiting”. Steffan gets right up their noses because he remains calm and knows his subject. Was it Skepticat ( a humanist who lives by the golden rule) who banned you from her site.

    What must be clear to anyone who follows these blogs is how little they know about chiropractic. What has happened is the Biggots have been energised by the chiropractic regulator. These people have been “moron baiting” homeopaths for years with little success. What is different now, they have a regulator that is acting on their “moron baiting”. These people are just having a laugh and we should not rise to the bait, its the GCC that is destroying the profession not people who are sceptical about chiropractic.

    There are chiropractors who have tried to hurt me and my family far worse than anything Alan Hennes has done to BCA members. Hennes has merely challenged the chiropractic profession on the back of Simon Singhs case and been able to exploit the divisions that have sustained Margaret Coats power.

    In his book “Joining the Dots” Bill Esteb states that the diversity in the profession that is tearing associations apart is being bread at the chiropractic college level. “Those who graduate do so with unclear or conflicting identities depending upon which school they attended”. This has produced an epidemic of what he calls “prefixed chiropractors” they call themselves straight, mixer, musculoskeletal, principled, objective, wellness, multi-disciplinary and so on not to mention; confused, ambivalent.

    For one hundred years chiropractors fought to protect its unique identity. The enemy is no longer a zealous American Medical Association or even critics like Professor Edzard Earnst (merely an obstacle chiropractic academics can not overcome). The enemy are those among our own ranks who want to force all chiropractors to take the path they are on. They pontificate about “unity” when the mean forcing non believers to follow their dogma, rather than respect the diversity that is chiropractic linked by the recognition that there is a relationship between the structure of the spine and the function of the nervous system and wellbeing.

  27. Rod MacMillan on November 30, 2010 at 18:14

    I think suing Simon Singh was wrong, not because it backfired but because it closed lines of communication. The sceptics have valid points, as a profession we have to deal with legitimate disbelief and disagreement. We should be conducting studies with eminent sceptics, working together for the good of patients.

    Unfortunately as a profession we seem to be riven with splits and have no united stance on anything.

    Unless we stop attacking everyone and start including everyone we are doomed to repeat this cycle.

  28. Stefaan Vossen on November 30, 2010 at 17:51

    Good luck and thanks for the respect.

  29. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 30, 2010 at 15:34

    @ Stefaan

    I know your postings and your passion for the profession, that for me is not in doubt. I may not agree with everything you say, but I respect your opinion. 

    Maybe it is me that’s wrong and I am being too judgmental. Maybe I have missed their real motives, which are obviously very well hidden behind their maliscious intent.  I probably should do what you seem to have done and really try and get to know these people  in order to find out for myself if they truly are, really nice guys. 

    Well that took a nano second of deliberation, no thanks. Their actions, and postings to date have been enough for me to realise who and what they are. Sadly Stefaan we must agree to disagree on that one. Nice guys indeed, your having a laugh surely.  

  30. Stefaan Vossen on November 30, 2010 at 15:04

    appreciate that and personally agree that malice is a horrible thing. My post only referred to the comment you made to my address and the value I attribute to skepticism.

  31. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 30, 2010 at 13:30

    @ Stefaan

    Criticism I can appreciate, a malicious attempt to destroy a profession, I can’t.

  32. Stefaan Vossen on November 30, 2010 at 12:24

    “So for good or bad the document was given to a skeptic, one of the nice guys in life according to Stefaan, by someone who has breached a trust to both his colleagues and the profession, and that is something they have to live with.”
    I just wanted make it clear that Bilbo’s: “one of the nice guys in life according to Stefaan” is in my view a potentially disingenious appraciation of my view of the “skeptics”. If we as chiropractors cannot appreciate the criticism we leave ourselves open to, then we have no place in the healthcare market. If we do not appreciate the bearers of such lessons, regardless of their faces or their voices, then we are bigots and fascists. Therefore I choose to treat my critics with respect and defference, even if they criticise inelegantly, badly or inaccurately, because I’d rather listen to that and hurt than be called a fascist.

  33. Richard Lanigan on November 29, 2010 at 00:06

    .Been away for a long weekend in Copenhagen.

    No I did not leak the “draft” statement to Simon Perry. I received the same draft a few weeks ago and was not sure if it was genuine or where it had come from. My understanding is this is a draft which was circulated among the councils of all the associations for comment before the final letter was sent to the GCC.

    The statement shows the GCC is in trouble and Coats should go. However I suspect the GCC are stalling for time to get all registration fees in. Then just spin it out as they did when Richard Rummary resigned in 2000, or after the survey found that 77% of the profession had no confidence in the GCC, after Greg Prices resignation or my expulsion, thats how they operate.

    The associations must insist on an independent audit of GCC procedures in relation to complaints rather than the usual council members investigating each other and they have to present a united front and not be seduced by Peter Dixons flannel

  34. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 22:22

    Actually, that was disingenuous. 

    Before I inadvertently make a similar mistake to Rod, I think it is time that I remove myself from the debate. 

    There is however, a genuine feeling by a lot more people than myself that the leak may prevent any resignation or termination within the GCC, which in itself will prohibit any real change.  So for good or bad the document was given to a skeptic, one of the nice guys in life according to Stefaan, by someone who has breached a trust to both his colleagues and the profession, and that is something they have to live with. Nevertheless it’s a shame that this opportunity may have just been lost and further battles need to be committed to. 

    I read somewhere lately, there are no bad decisions, just bad consequences, a very apt statement in the current circumstances.

  35. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 20:56


    And who is fighting the swedes corner, the whistleblower et al or the ECU?

  36. Paul on November 28, 2010 at 20:39

    The future of the profession affects every chiropractor Bilbo and chiropractic could never have the stats RodMcM posted.

    Anyone heard about the fact that the swedish government has finally accepted Byfield’s WIOC and GCC view that chiropractic is in fact a subset of physiotherapy and is only going to fund chiropractic education as such?

    Perhasp this might put some typical british backbiting into perspective …

  37. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 19:05


    This implies bad management and procedures and possibly weak regulation. How does this support an improved regulation for chiropractic or in fact put things in perspective.

    My comments above in my last postings are not meant as stone throwing but simply, as I can find no listing on you on the GCC site, I can only assume you are not regulated by the GCC nor registered in the UK. This would lead me to assume that this whole issue, or in fact the future of the profession, although it may be of great interest it can not really affect you. Unless of course the demise of the GCC would somehow further your own circumstance?

  38. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 18:37


    I presume this is from the perspective of someone who isn’t regulated nor in fact on the register?

  39. rod macmillan on November 28, 2010 at 18:12

    I put this in to give some perspective: chiropractic is safe and does not need this level of regulation

    19 hospital trusts in England had significantly high death rates
    Four trusts had significantly high rates of deaths after surgery
    Two trusts feature on both lists
    62,800 “adverse medical events” reported in English hospitals
    30,500 life-threatening blood clots
    Nearly 10,000 patients recorded as having accidental puncture or laceration
    Approximately 6,000 patients with bed pressure sores
    More than 2,000 patients with post-operative intestinal bleeding
    1,300 surgery patients recorded with sepsis
    Source: Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2010

  40. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 17:01


    Now see, I have always actually liked you and you offer good points. But why give the bigots any help to attack the profession. The guy or gal was way out of order in doing this. The document was presented by a unified profession, this character did this off his or her own back to satisfy their own ego or agenda. Sorry mate it’s just sick. In fact I had a call yesterday about this and the term ‘traitor’ to the profession was mentioned. Personally I think that’s too nice. But everyone has his or her own opinion.

  41. Garland Glenn on November 28, 2010 at 14:44

    @ Baggins
    Some good points.
    Here is an honest question…Is there anything which would state that those on the General Council are in the wrong by “sharing “ this. Richard could clarify this. Maybe the statement should be released “officially” to the entire profession.
    @ All of us
    This whole thing about skeptics…. What we have here is the tail wagging the dog. Do they really have any influence worthy of consideration or are they just small minded people with nothing better to do looking for a place to be important? Does the British public pay them any attention? Do your patients even know they exist? I think what we have here actually is a group of “bigots” who’ve found a button to push. It’s giving them a feeling of power. The best thing we might do is to ignore them completely. Remember you can fix ignorant but you can’t fix stupid.

  42. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 28, 2010 at 12:55


    I appreciate, sympathise and in a large part totally agree. However, my argument is twofold.

    A serious breach of trust at a time when the profession is looking to unity..

    Putting personal opinion and agenda before the profession as a whole rather than a segment of it.

    It is obvious that not everyone will agree with the breach, based on my posts and one would assume the concerns of parties who unified to put this letter forward.

    I genuinely believe that the GCC should be taken to task, I genuinely believe their should be termination and resignation based on the information we had relating to the actions of the GCC and the information we have relating to the conduct of individuals within that organisation. 

    If this leak, affects the outcomes and is used by the GCC to manoeuvre out of initiating change, then the whistleblower will have a lot to answer for. What has happened to you and others, and seems to be continuing to happen, and can only rectified by changing things for the future. Many of us believe that the ‘unified’ vote of no confidence sent a powerful message not only to the GCC but CHRE and DOH. Something must be done, due process needs to be given a chance when dealing with government supported agencies, yet some selfish, arrogant or stupid individual passing information to Stefaans mates, thinking it will be good for the UK chiropractic profession needs to get a grip. The fact that they may not see regulation as good for chiropractic is not shared by the majority in the UK profession. 

     I honestly thought I could work with certain factions of our profession, in unity, and for the betterment of the whole but I have nothing in common with people who have no integrity and put the profession in it’s entirety, way down their list of priorities.

    Therefore all the posts in the world, from non chiropractors, overseas chiropractors or mates of skeptics will not change my mind. The action of the leak is reprehensible, but only time will tell who is right. All the clowns have done is increased the punching weight of Stefaans mates. 

    Do you people honestly believe they have the best interests of chiropractic, do you believe they want chiropractic to even survive. Or do you honestly believe you can use them for your own ends? It is a sad day for the profession if any of the above are true. 

    PS as soon as All posters are requested to remove their avatars, I will consider it. Until then all the best to you guys from us lads down in the Shire

  43. Garland Glenn on November 27, 2010 at 23:25

    Dr. Baggins

    While I understand your position and why, I see this as a positive event. The people who we’re having the problems with have been successful in covering up any previous attempts at “transparency”. The more this is brought out into the open, the harder it will be to ignore it. For me, this is not a blight on the profession. Rather it’s an indictment of those who have hijacked the GCC for personal reasons. I use my name and I am currently registered. I have stated before that I have written proof that my case was “manipulated” to achieve a particular outcome. Also as I have stated before that the State of South Carolina reviewed the GCC’s case when I applied for a license there and they found “that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant a Formal Complaint and Herring in this matter”. They completely dismissed the case. As a person who was wrongfully treated, I don’t think the corruption can be proclaimed loudly enough.

  44. Stefaan Vossen on November 27, 2010 at 18:42

    re: for the profession’s benefit: nor do I believe this, but their motivation is rather irrelevant in the face of the gratitude I have for the result. It’s a little like thanking the guy that punched you into hospital missing your flight to a once-in-a-life-time three week trip to Botswana courtesy of the bank you just paid your loan off at to find your plane crashed and there are no survivors.
    Call me daft by all means, but I am very happy man, and no-one is going to convince me to start employing a cynical logic that fritters my energy away wasted on such a negative notion.
    Re leak: see above

  45. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 27, 2010 at 18:12


    Good response, once again I agree totally about weakness and holes. I think the attack was good for the profession, but I don’t believe for a minute that they did any of this for the professions benefit.

    I still find the leak and the individual who did it appalling. Sorry that won’t change anytime soon.

  46. Stefaan Vossen on November 27, 2010 at 17:53

    Hi Bilbo,
    just so you know, Simon Perry has actually got a complaint in against me. I invited him over to my office and left a leaflet for the treatment of Colic (the old ones) in the waiting room… he saw the joke of it. He made it quite clear to me that this is in no way about individual chiropractors, it is an exercise in exposing holes, and it is up to us decide how we respond to this. Would you not agree that there are holes in the chiropractic profession’s stance on making unsubstantiated claims? Would you not agree that if someone can hurt you, it must by definition be because there is a weakness? My attitude is quite a philosophical one about things like these. It only hurts because all we can indeed say is: “there isn’t a fat lot of research evidence, but I make the commercial decision to treat my patients the way I best understand how to for conditions I best understand to be truthfully treated with my care”. We can only accept that the ASA is not on anyone’s side when it comes to making claims for which there is not a certain level of evidence. This is the very thing about this whole situation which focuses our insecurities, and uncertainties, which is what in turn, at least so I believe, makes us so very emotional and sensitised about it.
    But let’s look at the facts: the complaints were legally correct. The subject of the complaint was accurate. Factually it can’t be faulted. I in fact think that, and I will reiterate, whatever any UK chiropractors say, Zeno, Perry et al have done us a favour, because we were heading for a train smash. I agree that one shouldn’t make claims unless there is a substantial and robust level of evidence to substantiate the claim. Otherwise what’s next? Anyone saying anything just to push their wares? That would render the process of advertising completely useless in no time!
    This has nothing to do with morality or ethics. It’s gotten legal… and why? Because WE got legal… True,… I personally didn’t want to get legal, but my representatives did and therefore I am to be held accountable for my choice of representatives,… am I not?
    I am responsible for the casualties of a war wagered by the government I elected. This is no different. But that is just my opinion.
    I have a clinic where I don’t need to advertise, partially because the place I am in, partially because the way my patients feel about my work. Patients ask me if I treat this that or the other, and I reply always the same: I adjust people and what they get from that is good for them. And I feel that a lot has been lost in cutting down on philosophy of healthcare because I think you may remember the days of chiropractors saying “I adjust, innate does the rest”.
    What do you need claims for in the first place? BJ started making claims at a certain stage. That is the stage he lost the plot in my opinion. Society doesn’t need you to make claims it needs you to adjust when you need to. The results will be your advertising. I am sure I don’t need to tell you this, but I think it is worthwhile for the students and new-grads who read this and maybe some of the boys and girls out there who forgot what was so great about chiropractic. But that’s how I feel about chiropractic and what is being called chiropractic in this country has got little to do with it any more, all because we feel that we have to compete and integrate with the philosophy of medicine. But now that some skeptics with some knowledge of IT, systematise and systematically undermine the fallacies that emerge from such an erroneous amalgamation (the two philsophies are incompatible but can coexist), well Bilbo I can only tell them one thing: “thanks for saving chiropractic, because if it was left to chiropractors it would have gone to shits.”
    Do I agree with some of the sentiments? No of course not, there are as many idiots on the skeptic blogs as there are anywhere else and some of them are really facetious and emotionally illiterate, but that doesn’t make them wrong.
    The discomfort some have with it is just because they are having to chose where chiropractic is going to go, and they don’t get to choose when they can make that decision. And then they need to decide what they are. Let’s man up here, was it really an option for things to keep going the way they were?
    Re the “leaker” I agree that it must have broken someone’s confidence and trust, but that is for them to deal with. It does not affect me or my profession. But I may be missing something here, as I am not a political creature.
    Kind regards,

  47. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 27, 2010 at 17:52

    My last statement WAS meant as a joke :-)

  48. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 27, 2010 at 17:05

    Hi Stefaan

    I appreciate your post and your questions. Where I stand is simple having read some of your posts here and elsewhere, you and I disagree on some things and i am sure will agree on others.

    My first disagreement is that Henness and Perry are quite nice guys. I have viewed zenos blog and hardly find him a fair minded individual and I have also read that Perry throws in complaints, simply because it amuses him?  

    Which leads us onto the reasons of the complaints. These were not based on a skeptical stance, but simply to support Singh in his battle with the BCA. Therefore the fact that you can stand there and try and impress upon me that 2 individuals with malicious intent, who are causing stress and consternation to 100′s of the profession for their own malicious reasons, are ‘nice guys’. This makes me wonder why you would even consider that any registered UK chiropractor would agree with that statement?

    Now whether the BCA were right or wrong to go after Singh is once again a matter of opinion, but the fact that the complaints were vexatious and the GCC, in their infinite wisdom, actually processed them, and has, if many are to be believed, all but criminalised the UK profession, is open to debate. But the Vote of No Confidence, would answer that in part. Therefore we have a situation, amongst other  complaints against them, which the GCC should be held and is being held to account for and it is important that this process runs it’s course. 

     I appreciate and agree that the skeptic attacks, will lead to a more sensible stance by the profession but it was not on the agenda of either Henness or Perry’s  to improve the lot of the chiropractic profession, rather the opposite. 

    My second, disagreement which  is probably too strong a word, so position would be better, is with respect of the leak.

    It is relatively simple. Someone  in authority, or someone who was entrusted with this information or both, broke that trust and passed it to the very people who are attacking us. The fact that it may affect the investigation and thus the outcome by allowing those being investigated to suggest the case against them may have been  prejudiced. may end up being a reality.  

    The act of stupidity, arrogance or niavity, which has led any individual to break a trust and thus the unity of the profession, appalls me and when their choice of comrades in arms are those attacking the profession itself, surely the question is, are these people any more credible than some of the GCC officers whose names are continually banded about here. The answer for me is very easy to answer, NO!

    If you still believe the skeptics to be nice guys, and the action of the whistleblower to be appropriate then maybe your spending too much time in the skeptics blogs. Stockholm syndrome, springs to mind ;-)


    Apology accepted. Emotion is a wonderful thing. If I was being honest, although I didn’t write it, your statements mirrored my thoughts exactly concerning how I felt about you. So no big deal.

  49. Rod MacMillan on November 27, 2010 at 13:38

    Why would anyone want this covered up? Surely if it is out in the open it can get dealt with?

  50. Stefaan Vossen on November 27, 2010 at 12:11

    Hi Bilbo,
    I am finding the whole thing quite interesting. I have had a little read through the document and observe opinion and statements of observation in that document. What I do not see is how any of this would compromise any investigations, nor how it would compromise the chiropractic profession. As far as I can see it is all descending into the farcical anyway and whomever “leaked” this information probably looks at it as I would: the skeptics, as long as they are sticking to the points they actually have point on, are actually allies to those who want to make the chiropractic profession better. A little like my gay friend who would looks at me in disgust after putting on the wrong shirt-tie combo. It’s not nice to be criticised but at least it will help me pull later that night.
    You say:
    Whoever released the joint letter to the GCC to Simon Perry needs to be brought to task and in my eyes are no better than Henness or Perry in their attacks. They may just have ruined any case being investigated and allowed the perpetrators off the hook.
    Henness and Perry I quite nice guys when you get to know their agenda. What hook? Which perpetrators?
    I am not following you Dr. Bilbo

  51. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 27, 2010 at 10:04


    As you are so vociferous in your attacks on other posters.
    As someone who is not UK registered.
    As someone who seems to know what is best for the British chiropractic profession in general.
    As someone who seems to know what is best for those who are trying to defend themselves against the current attacks by Henness and Perry.
    As someone who claims to have cut and pasted the letter from Perrys website and posted it here.

    I think Carly Ann is asking you because, based on the above information, unlike myself, they may presume you
    have all or some if the answers.

    Carly Ann has my vote and I think the joint associations should be hitting Perry with a FIA request as this document was obviously not meant to be in the public domain and certainly not on the hands of the skeptics who complained against the profession. Yet in some strange way Rod, accepting all I have said above, you find it appropriate to defend the leak and the individual/individuals who leaked it. I repeat my comments of a personal agenda, and I really would be I interested what would make any ‘chiropractor’ or supporter of chiropractic deem it appropriate to do this?

  52. rod macmillan on November 27, 2010 at 08:41

    I cut and pasted that off the net, no idea if that was the one sent.Ask Marge at the GCC

  53. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 26, 2010 at 23:55


    According to the GCC listings, you are not even registered in the UK. Either way, my comments stand and I think many British DC’s will agree, especially if the GCC investigation goes belly up because of those individuals who put personal agenda before profession and a great opportunity is lost.

  54. carly ann on November 26, 2010 at 23:45

    @ Rod, I did check the properties on that document. Any idea why the author is given as KEVIN? – there are no kevins at the Landsdown clinic. But there is a KEVIN at the UCA. Is it possible that he is a turncoat?

    And another question is why there are no logos, or return address/ contact details in the letter? It looks like a draft version rather than a finished one, especially as the track changes shows up some typos that have been corrected. Plus, the date in the properties tab shows that this document was last printed (or cut and pasted) on 19/10/10 and the final text was sent to council a few days after the 19th. How does anyone know that this one actually got sent?

    Time for a FOI request?

  55. rod macmillan on November 26, 2010 at 21:23

    “They may just have ruined any case being investigated and allowed the perpetrators off the hook.”

    Yep we wouldnt want defendants getting full disclosure at I/C stage would we, use your own name!!!

  56. Dr Bilbo Baggins on November 26, 2010 at 15:20

    It just amazes me at the level of stupidity or arrogance of certain individuals within the chiropractic profession. It would seem that personal agenda continues to supersede what is right for the whole profession.

    Whoever released the joint letter to the GCC to Simon Perry needs to be brought to task and in my eyes are no better than Henness or Perry in their attacks. They may just have ruined any case being investigated and allowed the perpetrators off the hook.

    The profession doesnt need skeptics or bigots to bring it down, their are enough clowns on the inside

    Well done lads, a great own goal.

  57. fed up on November 26, 2010 at 14:37

    I wonder if richard or Kevin sent it to Mr Perry?

  58. fed up on November 26, 2010 at 14:33

    “23. Furthermore, we have evidence that the GCC pursued a policy of inviting Alan Henness to submit complaints against non-BCA members. In correspondence dated 7 December 2009, Jane Kinane (Specialist Officer, Regulation) wrote to Henness on behalf of the Investigating Committee stating inter alia that “…from the web pages provided, we have identified that there are additional chiropractors from certain clinics, other than those who you have submitted a complaint against. We would therefore be grateful if you could consider the following chiropractors below and confirm whether you wish to submit a complaint against these chiropractors.” Fifteen further chiropractors became subject to complaints as a result of this correspondence.”

    this Jane Kinane should be sacked RIGHT NOW ffs!!

  59. rod macmillan on November 26, 2010 at 14:22

    Check the properties tab!! It appears the writer was based at you know whos clinic


    Alan Breen
    David Byfield
    Martin Caple
    Roger Creedon
    Christina Cunliffe
    Peter Dixon
    David Plank
    Graham Pope
    Christopher Stephens
    Judith Worthington
    Ian Dingwall
    Julie McKay
    David Murphy
    Stephen Williams

    27th October 2010

    Dear Members of the General Chiropractic Council


    1. As respective Presidents of all national chiropractic associations we the undersigned write on behalf of the entire UK chiropractic profession to express our collective lack of confidence in the GCC’s process, interpretation and proportionality in its regulation of the chiropractic profession. This letter represents a consensus statement and is addressed to all members of the General Chiropractic Council. It follows a vote of no confidence taken by members of the British Chiropractic Association at its AGM, a similar vote taken by the Scottish Chiropractic Association and the results of an online survey conducted by the Alliance of UK Chiropractors (representing the United Chiropractic Association, Scottish Chiropractic Association and the McTimoney Chiropractic Association).

    2. At the outset we would like to state that we are supportive of regulation of the chiropractic profession. The profession fought long and hard to attain regulation so that the public could be protected and that its reputation could be preserved through protection of title, setting standards and developing the profession of chiropractic. It is therefore not the case that we are seeking to destabilise the function of the statutory regulator. The members of our respective associations are, however, deeply unhappy with the manner in which the regulatory functions are being managed and it is the duty of the professional associations to represent their views.

    3. There are a number of issues that the profession would like to raise and these are contained under the broad headings of process, interpretation and proportionality. It is possible that some of the issues fall into more than one of these categories.

    4. We invite the members of the General Chiropractic Council to consider carefully all of the points raised, which are made with a view to seeking change within the organisation. While we are aware of the recent report of the CHRE, you will note that as a profession we do not feel that it reflects our experiences of effective statutory regulation.


    Quality Assurance of the Investigating Committee

    5. We understand that the Registrar has been in attendance at a number of Investigating Committee meetings when it has sat to consider the complaints made against Registrants. Our experience is such that we do not have confidence in the Registrar to maintain a purely observational role in these meetings, which has been variously described as a scrutinising and quality assurance activity. We are unaware of the existence of any rule or policy which appoints the Registrar to undertake this role and it is unclear why, given that the Registrar has herself been a complainant in a number of Fitness to Practise hearings, the role of quality assurance cannot be delegated to other senior members of GCC staff. Furthermore, it is unclear what parameters the Registrar uses to determine ‘quality’ in respect of the performance of the statutory committees.

    6. It is understood that the Investigating Committee is assisted by a legal assessor who, in all cases relating to the omnibus complaints has been Rosemary Rollason, a solicitor currently employed by Russell, Jones and Walker. Ms Rollason has previously prosecuted cases in PCC hearings on behalf of the GCC, which we believe represents a conflict of interest. It is our understanding that the training for the Investigating Committee was conducted by Tom Rider, a partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse – Ms Rollason’s former firm – at which both the Registrar and Executive Officer (Regulation) were present.

    7. At the very least, the distinct impression is created that there is a lack of independence in either the training of the Investigating Committee or the impartiality of the advice that the Committee receives during its deliberations.

    8. The Chair of the GCC has confirmed that the Registrar does not formally undertake a quality assurance role for the other statutory committees by sitting in on their deliberations, particularly the Professional Conduct Committee.

    9. The UK chiropractic profession is not opposed to the concept of quality assurance and recognises the importance of consistent decision-making. However, to be assured of complete objectivity, it would wish to see the Registrar removed from the role of attending meetings of the Investigating Committee in a quality assurance or observational role. We would suggest that this role could be delegated to an “independent” QA officer, who may, or may not, be a member of staff at the GCC. It feels that the profession would be better assured of objective decision-making in her absence. It would also wish to see clear evidence of the terms of reference of this role and the nature of information provided to the General Council as a consequence of her attendance.

    10. We would also seek the views of the General Council on the proximity of relationship between those providing training for the Investigating Committee and its Legal Assessor. The profession would be reassured by the appointment of a Legal Assessor who has no previous affiliation with the GCC and certainly not one who has previously prosecuted cases on its behalf.

    Strategy of Investigating Mass Complaints – the Bronfort Report

    11. The UK chiropractic profession is aware that the CHRE has commended the GCC for “the speed with which the GCC was able to produce detailed plans to deal with the huge increase in complaints” . The CHRE went on to state that they “developed and evaluated a range of solutions and scenarios to address the problem in the context of both existing and proposed legislative requirements.”

    12. We understand that the GCC was presented with an unprecedented volume of complaints and have sympathy with the challenge that it faced to deal with these complaints in the context of the existing legislation. Nevertheless, the GCC had an obligation to comply with section 20(9)(c) of the Chiropractors Act 1994 .

    13. The BCA was informed by the Registrar that she personally inspected 6500 pages of chiropractors’ websites following the receipt of mass complaints regarding its members. In response to this, in June 2009 Gert Bronfort (a chiropractic researcher) was commissioned to prepare a review of the evidence on the effectiveness of manual therapy for a range of conditions. The Registrar was aware that the number of named conditions featuring on chiropractors websites was considerable. The terms of reference which were provided to Bronfort by the Registrar were as follows:

    a. “To proceed directly with the analysis of the range of conditions within the scope of the complaints, subject only to you (Bronfort) giving a cost estimate for that and receiving my approval (which will be by return).”
    b. “Within approximately one week providing that analysis and confirmation that you are available to provide an evidence review within the scope identified by the above analysis, together with an indication of the costs involved. Again I would plan to respond by return.”
    c. “In that regard the GCC would like you to be the primary author responsible for overall preparation and submission of the review but would value two additional co-authors as recommended by David Chapman-Smith and approved by the GCC”.

    14. It is not clear what, if any professional chiropractic advice, the Registrar took when commissioning Bronfort to undertake the study.

    15. We understand that the GCC supplied Bronfort with the list of named conditions. His report was published in February 2010 and was distributed to the profession in March 2010. The report covered a total of 26 named conditions and used a ‘modified’ grading system for evaluating the strength of evidence (high positive, moderate positive, or inconclusive favourable). Subsequently the Registrar has confirmed to the BCA that “As I understand it, if a condition doesn’t appear in the report, it is because there were no relevant RCTs”.

    16. It appears that the Investigating Committee was instructed to use the Bronfort Report as an ‘assistance tool’ when determining whether there was a case to answer. In fact, it was the only such tool that was made available to the Investigating Committee. Put simply, the Investigating Committee seems to have been instructed that if a condition did not feature in the Bronfort Report the matter should become the subject of an allegation of unprofessional conduct and be referred on.

    17. We do not consider that the Investigating Committee had much, if any, expertise or training to independently evaluate research evidence submitted by Respondents. It was therefore solely at the mercy of the Bronfort Report. Under s20(9)(c) of the Chiropractors Act 1994 it had a duty to consider all information available to it, including that which formed part of the Respondent’s observations. The BCA is unaware of any instance where the Investigating Committee sought or obtained further expert opinion to consider evidence provided by Respondent members in cases where named conditions did not feature in the Bronfort Report.

    18. We consider such a failing to be a serious falling short of the obligation binding on the Investigating Committee under the Act. It cannot be the case that the Investigating Committee properly considered all information available to it, and its strategy of using the Bronfort Report as a sole assistance tool to determine where there was a case to answer was fundamentally flawed. As a consequence, chiropractors have found themselves facing allegations of Unacceptable Professional Conduct because the Committee did not possess the expertise (nor did they seek it) when presented with named conditions not analysed by Bronfort.

    19. A recent example of the flaw in considering only one author’s conclusions has come to light in the case of sciatica. As a result of the Bronfort Report, the evidence supporting claims for effectiveness made by chiropractors was graded as ‘inconclusive yet favourable’. The submission of further evidence by the profession, apparently not previously considered by Bronfort, has resulted in the evidence grading rising to moderate positive. It cannot be argued that the research (Santilli et al, 2006) was not available to Bronfort but appears to reveal a somewhat selective approach. This report has been presented to the UK chiropractic profession and, more worryingly, the ASA as an authoritative systematic review, yet the conclusions are open to significant challenge.

    20. A further example of the significant limitations of the report is in the case of very similar elbow disorders. It has transpired that chiropractors who named tennis elbow on their sites as a treatable condition were not subjected to allegations (it being the subject of moderate- or high- positive evidence of effectiveness), whilst golfers elbow (which was not considered by Bronfort) face allegations of unacceptable professional conduct.

    21. In the knowledge that Bronfort had only considered a small sample of named conditions, we believe the Investigating Committee failed in its duty to act objectively and thoroughly by limiting itself to a single report to determine the level and quality of available evidence and by not giving appropriate weight to the materials provided by Respondents. We are aware from the disclosure of correspondence (only days before the first PCC Hearings) between the Registrar and Gert Bronfort that in respect of reference material submitted by Respondents, only RCTs relating to manual therapies were considered.

    22. In terms of process, it is the case that a number of Respondents were served with a Notification of Complaint prior to the publication of the Bronfort Report while others received theirs afterwards. In drafting their observations, it is therefore the case that some chiropractors were able to use materials contained within the report, whilst others were denied this opportunity. We consider that such an approach did not serve the interests of justice or fairness.

    23. Furthermore, we have evidence that the GCC pursued a policy of inviting Alan Henness to submit complaints against non-BCA members. In correspondence dated 7 December 2009, Jane Kinane (Specialist Officer, Regulation) wrote to Henness on behalf of the Investigating Committee stating inter alia that “…from the web pages provided, we have identified that there are additional chiropractors from certain clinics, other than those who you have submitted a complaint against. We would therefore be grateful if you could consider the following chiropractors below and confirm whether you wish to submit a complaint against these chiropractors.” Fifteen further chiropractors became subject to complaints as a result of this correspondence.

    24. We are appalled that the GCC, through its statutory committee, would act in this way. We consider such conduct amounts to incitement and, in the circumstances, is reprehensible.

    Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Regulations

    25. The BCA is in possession of copies of a number of emails between the Registrar and Trading Standards Officers. This exchange commenced with an email timed at 16:03 on 20.10.09 from a Chris Perry, Senior Enforcement Officer from Birmingham Trading Standards.

    26. In his email he stated that he was carrying out an investigation under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2007 (sic). Mr Perry outlined complaints in respect of website claims for colic and asked, “I would respectfully seek your expert opinion on these matters…is there or indeed is there not robust scientific evidence to support these claims?” Precisely two hours later, the Registrar replied, confirming that a review of the evidence had been commissioned to “see whether chiropractic may ease some of the symptoms of a variety of conditions, including infant colic.”

    27. The Registrar went on in the same email to state “Our current understanding is that the available evidence in respect of infant colic is inconclusive.” The BCA considers that the last sentence of the Registrar’s email was entirely inappropriate in the circumstances and in making this statement, the Registrar, as a non-chiropractor went outside the bounds of her expertise in responding. Even if she had been in possession of the Bronfort Report at that stage, she would have known that the expression used was, “Inconclusive but favourable”. The Registrar’s response to this email was made in the knowledge that this may have formed part of a criminal investigation.

    28. The following day Mr Perry responded by attempting to clarify whether the wording of the GCC leaflet effectively meant that at that time there was no robust scientific evidence to support such claims. He also asked whether the GCC discouraged or supported “Chiropractics” who made such claims. He went on to state, “If the GCC discourages the use of such claims, in Chiropractic’s advertisements, or indeed any other claims that may be misleading, as the Regulatory body do you have any powers to take action against Chiropractics who make these claims?”

    29. The Registrar responded to this email on 22.10.09 highlighting “a potential tension” between the requirement to practice evidence-based care and the requirements of C1.6. She then went on to reproduce a table which had never previously been disclosed to the chiropractic profession. This graded evidence A-D, where A was strong evidence of efficacy or inefficacy. The Registrar stated in this e-mail that the evidence for colic was level D. She did not qualify this statement, or where she was advised in this regard.

    30. The Registrar then went on to ask the Senior Enforcement Officer to call her, “so that I can be sure what advice the GCC should be giving to its Registrants. For example, would it help if clear reference is made to the strength of the research evidence for claims made?”

    31. We wish to know whether the Registrar acted unilaterally in this email communication or whether she had sought advice from members of Council, one of whom is regarded as one of the world’s leading chiropractic researchers, while two others hold senior positions in chiropractic educational institutions.

    32. The Registrar appears also to have contacted Camden Trading Standards on or before 26.10.09. In an email she refers to a conversation with a Trading Standards Officer, Mark Gloc and forwards to him a copy of the email stream between her and Chris Perry. It is clear that Gloc and Perry discussed the issues. In a subsequent email dated 29.10.09 he states, “Obviously as the regulatory body in this field, the GCC is likely to possess the specialist knowledge that would be beneficial for the purposes of making determinations as to whether a practice is making misleading claims”

    33. On 1.12.09 Gloc wrote again confirming that complaints had been received. He refers to Schedule 1 of the CPFUTRs, highlighting the offence of “Falsely claiming that a product is able to cure illnesses, dysfunction or malformations.” He goes on to interpret this requirement by stating that “if a claim is made that chiropractic is effective at treating or curing colic, then this is a criminal offence.” He goes on to state, “If complaints are made to the GCC then as the regulatory body, and as a specialist in the field of chiropractic treatment it could be best placed to deal with such complaints and to advise the practices accordingly – particularly the position regarding the interpretation of evidence and the need to promote or sponsor additional material in this area – which could support or aid a more definitive and confident position in relation to uncertainties that have been highlighted.”

    34. On 23.2.10 and 25.2.10 there was correspondence between the CAP Team and the GCC in relation to the advice note/statement by the GCC in relation to the Bronfort Report.

    What Can I Expect When I See a Chiropractor?

    35. The GCC wrote to all Registrants on 17.3.10 regarding a revision of its leaflet What Can I Expect When I See a Chiropractor. In this letter, she confirmed that the new leaflet had been checked by the Copy Advice Team.

    36. We would ask the Registrar to confirm that all previous leaflets bearing the same title were also checked by the Copy Advice Team? If it is the case that they were not, can the Registrar explain why?

    37. In light of the decision by the GCC not to prosecute cases involving infantile colic, asthma and sciatica, we consider that the GCC should be content to admit that its own leaflets, including references to these conditions and others, including menstrual and digestive disorders, were potentially misleading to members of the public. This issue is of major concern, because as of 14 October 2010, following disclosure of the GCC’s evidence to BCA chiropractors facing PCC hearings in the week commencing 25 October 2010, it would appear that the GCC has decided not to prosecute any chiropractor who has used the terms tension headaches, digestive disorders and menstrual disorders. If so, we wish to enquire whether any disciplinary proceedings may be taken against those authorising the leaflets issued prior to March 2010? The GCC knew or ought to have known that these leaflets were widely supplied to patients of chiropractors and were used in chiropractic practices to provide information to patients. Chiropractors had a right to rely on such information contained in these leaflets to be factual and verifiable. Historically, the GCC also had a statutory function of promoting the profession. The GCC leaflets formed part of the fulfilment of this role.

    38. Before instructing chiropractors to destroy any previous versions of the What Can I Expect When I See a Chiropractor? Leaflet, the GCC had not issued any guidance to chiropractors regarding old stocks of leaflets prior to 17.3.10. Chiropractors would have had no reason to suspect that these leaflets were not ASA or legally compliant. Furthermore, it is reasonably foreseeable that chiropractors may have continued to use old stocks of any version of the GCC leaflet and rely upon the information contained therein.


    The GCC’s 2005 Survey

    39. The GCC conducted a Survey of the Profession in 2005. The results of that survey are freely available to members of the public on the GCC website. Part of that survey sought to ascertain which conditions were commonly treated by chiropractors. The list of conditions published in the report is extensive and contains musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions.

    40. As a result of this survey, the GCC should have been aware that chiropractors were likely to make claims in relation to certain named conditions and should subsequently have been alert to the introduction of new consumer protection legislation that potentially conflicted with the actions of chiropractors when marketing the conditions they had claimed were treatable.

    41. The GCC cannot argue that it was unaware of claims made on chiropractors’ websites around this time because the Registrar herself acted as the complainant in a case involving exactly these issues (GCC v Cashley).

    42. By failing to alert chiropractors to this legislation, which had a direct impact on section C1.6 of the Code of Practice, the GCC failed in its duty to protect the public or to develop the profession of chiropractic. It cannot argue that it is not its role to advise in this regard as previous advice notes have been issued in respect of other legislation, notably the IRMER regulations.

    Abolition of Rule to suspend fees for Registrants under investigation

    43. All national chiropractic associations supported an appeal by the GCC to support an amendment to the Rule by which any Registrant under investigation of a formal complaint was not required to pay his/her annual retention fee. Had they not done so, the GCC would have been severely financially compromised (approximately £600,000 per year over the course of the complaints).

    44. Within a very short space of time, this order passed through the Privy Council and the Rule amendment was complete (The General Chiropractic Council (Registration) (Amendments) Rules Order of Council 2009). What it clearly demonstrated to the profession was that when it is in its interests to do so, the GCC has the capability to change the Rules. However, at other times where the profession has sought an amendment to the Rules for the interests of the public and the profession, its requests have been turned down.

    45. While the profession welcomes the opportunity to be involved in consultation, both at workshops and via the associations, it does not currently have confidence that its views are valued or taken account of when formulating rule and policy amendments. Examples of this include the teaching of chiropractic philosophy as part of the undergraduate degree programmes and the quorum for statutory committees. Rather than having been seen to have satisfied a key performance indicator, we feel it would be appropriate for the GCC to provide the associations with written advice as to why its views were not accepted when determining such policy and legislative amendments.

    New Graduate Registration Fees

    46. One example of the above is in the area of registration fees for new graduates. For many years the profession has sought an amendment to this rule whereby new graduates are required to pay a fee of £1250 to register with the GCC. It is widely known that many UK students qualify in the middle of the year and yet are required to pay a whole year’s fees to cover them for less than six months. They are then required to re-register at a further cost of £1000. This anomaly also unfairly impacts chiropractors returning to practice after maternity leave or following an accident or illness.

    47. New graduates therefore find themselves being required to pay £2250 in the space of four months. Many are unable to afford this and simply do not register until the following year. At a critical time new graduates find themselves unable to afford to work. The risk of a loss of skill set with the potential risk to the public that this brings is a cause of great concern to the profession.

    48. As a profession, we request that the GCC urgently pursues a scheme of pro-rata registration fees to be introduced without delay. This is a move that is supported by the entire profession and as such we see no reason why the rule cannot be introduced in the same way as the suspension of the requirement to suspend fees for Registrants under investigation.

    Separation of function

    49. All of the associations have serious concerns about the apparent withholding of pertinent correspondence and information by the Registrar from the members of General Council. On a number of occasions the guidance on separation of function has been cited.

    50. The Separation of Function document, published in May 2010, relates to specific complaints against Registrants, not to the Fitness to Practise process generally. We understand that the General Council is responsible for the performance of all its statutory and non-statutory committees. It is therefore imperative that it should be able to consider general matters in relation to policy and strategy.

    51. The apparent withholding of national associations’ general enquiries and correspondence by the Registrar from the General Council does not accord with the accountability of the General Council in the discharge of its duties and the Stated Values for its Strategic Plan 2010-14 . The profession considers that Members of the General Council are not being properly informed of matters of importance to the profession.

    Fitness to Practise Committee

    52. We understand that the role of the Fitness to Practise Committee is to assure and advise the Council on the effective delivery of its fitness to practise responsibilities, and advise the Council on the development and improvement of those responsibilities.
    53. The GCC has advised the BCA in correspondence that the Committee will achieve its purpose by focusing on the future, monitoring performance, identifying strategic issues, formulating appropriate responses including policy, statutory change, guidance and other initiatives, and undertaking such other strategic activities as are appropriate.
    54. We have not seen evidence that the Fitness to Practise Committee has considered anything other than the relative time limitation on the searchable register for sanctions applied by the Professional Conduct Committee.
    55. Given the concerns expressed elsewhere in this paper, we wish to be assured that the Fitness to Practise Committee operates in an open and transparent way and that matters are communicated adequately to the General Council so that it may be properly assured that the delivery of fitness to practice responsibilities is effective. It also wishes to understand how performance is monitored and what strategic activities have been undertaken to date.


    Disclosure Policy

    56. Two of the national associations made a complaint in relation to the publication of a Notice of Allegations involving a Registrant. The Notification was graphic in the extreme and representations were made that it was likely to offend public decency and had the potential to undermine public confidence in the chiropractic profession.

    57. A response from the Registrar was circulated on 21.9.10 referring to the Professional Conduct Committee Rules and the GCC Disclosure Policy, agreed with the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2003. It is uncertain whether the views of the General Council members were canvassed on this policy decision, which appears to have made unilaterally by the Registrar.

    58. We would, however, draw attention to the fact that the Disclosure Policy is a General Policy and that exceptions will be considered . The Registrar refused to copy the original correspondence regarding this matter to the Chairs of the Statutory Committees, citing that it would be inappropriate because they have no role in the Disclosure Policy. We do not accept this refusal; our concern was regarding the drafting of allegations in a manner likely to offend public decency knowing that the Notice of Allegations would displayed on the GCC website 28 days before the hearing and for 12 months after its conclusion.

    Guidance on claims made for the vertebral subluxation complex

    59. Earlier this year the GCC made a statement in relation to the vertebral subluxation complex. It did so following an enquiry from a single member of the public regarding the research evidence supporting claims made that it is the cause of disease.

    60. The wording of the resulting statement caused considerable anger and resentment from a significant proportion of the UK chiropractic profession. We do not feel that sufficient consultation was conducted by the GCC in advance of the release of this statement given the likely sensitivity of the issue.

    61. The vertebral subluxation complex is a live concept for many chiropractors, who practice professionally and ethically using the precepts it contains. As a result of a meeting between the General Chiropractic Council and the professional associations, the GCC was forced to amend its statement and concede that however vertebral subluxation complex is defined, its effects may result in significant health concerns.

    62. On a matter of fundamental principle such as this, the profession would exhort the GCC to ensure that in future matters of this nature are dealt with sensitively to avoid creating an inflammatory situation. As a profession, we would request wider consultation and a consensus on statements that takes into account the varying practice styles that make up the UK profession.


    63. As a profession, we would like to state that we are not opposed to revalidation. We support any measures that maintain public confidence and promote high standards in the UK profession.

    64. We seek assurance that any process of revalidation that is introduced is proportionate and is based on an accurate and realistic business model. To date, the consultation process undertaken by Europe Economics at the direction of the GCC has not provided us with confidence that the risk-based analysis is anything near approaching a ‘robust business case’.

    65. For example, it was stated that “unnecessary chronicity” was a potential cost to the nation of £90m, yet when this construct was challenged it became clear that there was in fact no evidence underpinning what appeared to be a purely fabricated figure. Furthermore, the concept was put forward that unnecessary x-rays causing cancer resulted in a cost of £8.5m, yet on detailed analysis, this figure was reduced to £340.

    66. We believe that the whole concept of revalidation is one that is being pursued on tenuous grounds. It is creating fear and confusion amongst many chiropractors, who perceive that it will be onerous and unjustified in a chiropractic context. As a profession, we seek clarification from the GCC that the revalidation process will be fair and proportionate. We do not believe that basing a system of revalidation such as this on merely estimates of suboptimal outcomes satisfies the GCC’s stated aim of proportionality.

    Decision to pursue chiropractors in relation to named conditions other than those complained of.

    67. The decision to pursue chiropractors over claims made for named conditions on websites other than those complained of was disproportionate and served no useful purpose in protecting the public. The GCC may well have chosen to issue a guidance note to chiropractors reminding them of their obligations but instead determined that all named conditions appearing on website pages should be subjected to formal observations. This essentially has had the effect of questioning the character and potentially damaging the reputations of a sizeable proportion of the chiropractic profession.

    68. The fact that at the same time, the GCC was publishing leaflets (and had been for many years) advocating chiropractic care for similar conditions has led to widespread anger and criticism of the GCC’s proportionality. The Registrar has stated in correspondence that she would have expected all Registrants to have consulted the Office of Fair Trading before making claims on websites (rather than rely on the GCC’s own leaflets). We find this to be a remarkable statement as it is clear that the GCC had made no like enquiry before stating on its own leaflets that patients may see an improvement in certain types of asthma, infant colic and sciatica.

    69. The GCC subsequently continued to support a policy of prosecuting chiropractors for making similar claims to those made on GCC leaflets until a second legal opinion was sought which reversed the earlier advice given. We believe this to be a matter of grave concern to the profession and seek assurance that matters of this nature be subject to wider consultation amongst the General Council than merely the production of a ‘business plan’ from the GCC offices.

    Pursuit of cases in the absence of credible evidence

    70. The Associations have serious concerns about the performance of the Investigating Committee as well as the GCC’s appointed solicitors in the wake of three cases heard over this past summer all of which were multi-day listed cases and all of which ended in the cases being stopped by the PCC on the first day of their listing. It is clear from a close review of these three cases that they either should not have been referred through to hearing by the Investigating Committee or that they should have been discontinued as they progressed through to hearing. That the cases were not stopped at the first opportunity was due to a fundamental misunderstanding by the GCC’s lawyers of the statutory framework within which it brings its cases in that it is quite proper, as explained by the Legal Assessor to the GCC’s Counsel in open hearing, for the GCC to make a no case submission to the PCC following which the PCC can, after hearing argument, dismiss the case. That such an application is going to be made can be flagged up to those involved in the case well in advance of any hearing thereby saving unnecessary emotional distress and financial cost in the pursuance of hopeless cases.

    71. The result of the mishandling of the three cases above has had a profound effect on the Registrants concerned and the relentless pursuit of one case in particular, despite clear evidence that cast significant doubt on the complainants version of events, calls into question the GCC’s proportionality, fairness and objectivity at best, and its professionalism at worst.

    72. Two of the three cases referred to above were pursued on the thinnest of allegations but when it became clear upon further investigation that many of the charges were not properly made out the cases should have been listed before the PCC for its consideration as to whether they should have gone forward for full hearing. The third case referred to should never have been taken to hearing. The fact that it was calls into question the adequacy of case scrutiny at the Investigating Committee stage and the expertise of the legal advice received thereafter. As with any regulator, the GCC is under a duty to review cases not only at Investigating Committee stage but also as cases go forward to hearing so as to ensure not only that the public are protected but also that, equally importantly, the GCC is exercising its duty of care to those it regulates.

    73. Whilst we understand that an unresolved conflict of evidence may be grounds for referring a matter forward, it feels that this does not mean that the GCC can abrogate its clear responsibility at Investigating Committee stage (and thereafter) to establish, where appropriate, the veracity of accounts given, especially where the Registrant, through the provision of detailed records, has cast considerable doubt on a complainant’s complaint.

    74. A profession which regulates on the basis of unprofessional conduct as compared to impairment of fitness to practice should proceed on the basis that the allegation is sufficiently well founded to justify the potential damage to a professional’s reputation that results from receiving an adverse disciplinary finding. We do not understand why this commonsense approach has not been taken, for instance in matters involving the use of the Doctor title. The Investigating Committee appears to have not paid sufficient, or any, regard to the requirement to determine whether, the facts when taken at their highest, are sufficiently serious to warrant a finding of unacceptable professional conduct.

    75. A common theme at Investigating Committee stage would appear to be the failure to obtain, where appropriate, full sets of medical records to assist the decision making exercise. Indeed, in one case, the GCC allowed the complainant to redact her own medical notes which is quite unacceptable. For the avoidance of any doubt, the Investigation Committee should have for review in appropriate cases a complainant’s medical notes as well as any other pertinent information that would assist the Investigating Committee in coming to a fair and just decision as to whether a case should be taken forward. The cost, both financially and to the well being of practitioners and complainants, of failing to properly scrutinise cases at Investigating Committee stage cannot be over emphasized.

    76. There is clear and unequivocal evidence to show that in one particular case despite there being a clear indication that the Complainant was not only failing to cooperate with an investigation but also had been shown to have been dishonest with what she had alleged, the GCC still continued with the case to hearing. It was patently obvious well before the hearing that the GCC did not have a case and, despite this having been pointed out on numerous occasions, the GCC relentlessly pursued it to hearing. Even when the Complainant failed to attend the substantive hearing (she had also failed to attend both previous disclosure hearings), the GCC persisted in prosecuting its case using the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 so that the Complainant’s statement could be relied upon with no other evidence to rely upon. This would be laughable if it were not so serious given there was clear evidence to show the statement was unreliable; the PCC itself pointed to ”a number of points where Patient A appeared to have stated matters that were contradicted by apparently reliable documents”. The conduct of this case illustrates a dogged determination to prosecute at all costs. The explanation given and indeed the submission made that the rules mandate that there must be a hearing at least to the close of the GCC’s case once a case is referred through from the Investigating Committee is clearly wrong and was adjudged to be wrong by the Legal Assessor in this case.

    77. We are also aware of inconsistencies with reference to the GCC’s application of the disclosure rules. In one case, an indication from the complainant that he might not want to pursue his case was disclosed yet in another, the clearest possible indication that the complainant no longer supported her case was not disclosed until the date of the hearing despite several requests from the registrant’s lawyer. This again highlights a failure to understand the basic rules by which the GCC must conduct its affairs and this, as a serious failing, must be addressed. The GCC’s attitude to disclosure is haphazard and likely to lead to unfairness.

    78. In all three cases the drafting of charges has been poor. If more thought and investigation was put into the GCC’s cases at the Investigating Committee stage then it would be unnecessary for so many of the charges to be withdrawn and might also assist with the drafting of specific, well framed charges so that registrants know what it is they are facing. The current situation is untenable.

    79. Thought should be given to using experts in appropriate cases at Investigating Committee stage. On present evidence this would save considerable monies and ensure that the GCC is acting in both the public and practitioner’s interests.

    80. There are a number of instances where the Registrar has been the Complainant in matters considered by the Investigating Committee (for example, one case that involved an allegation of improper storage of patient records). While we recognise that this is an option available to her, we believe that both the interpretation of the Code of Practice and Standard of Proficiency as well as proportionality is an issue. In such instances, we believe that the Investigating Committee should seek independent expert opinions before proceeding to determine that there is a case to answer.

    Issuing of witness summonses: s32(2)(a) Chiropractors Act 1994

    81. In matters relating to hearings of the Professional Conduct Committee, we are aware of witnesses (who were the Complainants to the GCC in the first instance) being threatened with fines of up to £5000 and a criminal conviction for non-attendance. Under the Chiropractors Act we understand that this is a power which it may exercise. In the context of public protection, to issue threats of criminal prosecution to potential witnesses who wish to withdraw their evidence is likely to cause great distress and have the effect of ensuring that members of the public are dissuaded from bringing legitimate issues to the GCC.

    82. This is not helped by the knowledge that in at least one case a witness complained that they were being harassed by the GCC and refused to accept further correspondence in a matter where she no longer wished to give evidence.

    Resource issues

    83. We recognise that statutory regulation is, by necessity, costly. The General Council has an obligation to consider resourcing in the content of its management role and we would direct its attention to the issue of Fitness to Practise costs. Both for the regulator and the profession, costs of prosecuting and defending cases are significant. In light of the above comments in relation to proportionality and the possession of credible evidence when progressing matters to a full hearing, we would appreciate the views of the Fitness to Practise Committee.

    84. It is our submission that cost management would be significantly contained by addressing matters of process and proportionality. This would not only benefit the GCC but also the professional associations, whose insurers shoulder the burden of funding cases with no mechanism to retrieve costs even where the matter is dismissed on the day of the hearing.

    Equality and diversity

    85. The GCC has publicly stated that it is committed to equality and diversity. As a key performance indicator, the professional associations support the need to ensure that a wide range of skills, expertise and experience are brought to the GCC.

    86. We submit that part of this requirement extends to an equality and diversity of representation on the General Council itself and on its statutory committees. In assuring the profession that scope of practice will not be defined ‘by the back door’ we feel that it is important that the GCC’s professional membership represents a breadth of practice styles and backgrounds. This will in turn reassure the profession that it is objective in its decision-making and takes account of the diversity of the chiropractic profession. At present, they do not have this reassurance and considers that the culture of the organisation is driven by a narrow and misguided interpretation of what constitutes professional practice. Examples include practice styles, care schedules and supportive care plans.


    87. For national chiropractic associations to pass a vote of no confidence in its statutory regulator is a serious issue. As stated at the outset of this correspondence, the profession is supportive of statutory regulation but is unhappy with the application and manner in which regulation is being undertaken.

    88. This paper outlines the concerns that the profession has in relation to process, interpretation and proportionality. It is addressed to the General Council and should be considered in detail by all members.

    89. For the profession to have confidence in the GCC, change must occur. There are serious and fundamental issues described in this paper which we feel are currently having an adverse effect on the profession and on the effectiveness of the GCC as a regulator. While it is mindful of the CHRE Report, we do not believe that it addresses some of the serious issues that are impacting on the profession.

    Richard Brown
    President, British Chiropractic Association
    Bernadette Martin
    Chair, McTimoney Chiropractic Association
    Ross McDonald
    President, Scottish Chiropractic Association
    Kevin Proudman
    President, United Chiropractic Association

  60. rod macmillan on November 26, 2010 at 14:17

    Two votes of no confidence 77% then 84% Greg Price going to court claiming defamation only to be found that it was that utter creep from the GCC computers.

    Real drivel getting to the PCC while the case where someone died some how not getting through. Then this letter.

    If a fraction of the allegations contained in this letter are true then we need a full audit.

    My guess is that the GCC will set up a working party to look at the allegations, after deliberation re state the roles and that there will be no substantive change. A bit of fluffy window dressing.

  61. fed up on November 26, 2010 at 14:04

    I’m a bit worried that I have to read the letter sent from my association to the GCC via a skeptics blog.

  62. Garland Glenn on November 25, 2010 at 17:45

    What will it take for these two to step down? Why (other than power and self interest!) do they not get it? By the way when is the next vote?


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