Margaret Coats may have chiropractors attending the ECU conference in London arrested

April 29, 2010

 abth_chiro_chiro_fred_courtney-1921 The General Chiropractic Council (GCC), the chiropractic regulator in the UK have hired Private investigators to try and find evidence to present  to the police and have me arrested for practising chiropractic without a “medipractor” licence from Margaret Coats and Peter Dixon DC the GCC management. After I left the register in January 2009, private investigators were calling  every day and came  into the clinic a number of times posing as patients in an attempt to entrap me into saying I was a chiropractor. A number of AECC graduates have been convicted.

The PIs stand out because they were not really interested in chiropractic care and kept asking if I was a chiropractor. The GCC were forced to admit instructing private investigators by the freedom of information act. The investigation was ordered by Chief executive Margaret Coats, she is refusing to say why she ordered the investigation, and what the investigation uncovered if anything. This is a breech of the Data protection  The have to release this information and I have complained to the “Information Commissioners Office” and they have almost completed their investigation and I am confident they will find against the GCC.

I have a practise in Ireland and am a member of Irish Chiropractic association, which has higher chiropractic requirements for membership than the General Chiropractic Council. (The GCC has accredited the MacTimoney school in the UK which is not recognised by any chiropractic organisation outside of the UK. When MacTimoney was under threat from the British Chiropractic Association, the MacTimoney leadership (Christina’s old Girls Club) began using the term “we correct subluxations”  and professing their love of BJ Palmer. They then presented their enemies as anti subluxation chiropractic rather than anti “part time courses to train chiropractors” , chiropractors like me trusted and supported Christina Cunliffs efforts towards international accreditation.

 coats-on-sun Margaret Coats et al do not like me calling myself a “Spinal Health Care Practitioner” with my chiropractic qualifications from AECC on the wall. I have been practising in Kingston since 1996 people are not going to stop calling me a chiropractor because I am not on Coats register so she would like to have a tape, if I  ever  let the C word slip out to a patient and the worrying thing about all this is that sometimes you forget, that there are these “bottomholes” in the world trying to screw you over.

I contacted the GCC to establish what rights visiting chiropractors have in the UK while they are here, and define the boundaries within which I can practise in the UK without breaking the law. It would appear that when BJ Palmer visited the UK, had Margaret Coats been GCC registrar at the time, it would have been at her discretion, whether to report him to the police for calling himself a chiropractor and adjusting afew people he met in his hotel. You can see below how difficult it was to get a straight answer from the GCC to my questions (see e-mails below).

I will always remember my first day as an elected member of the GCC in June 2007.  Margaret Coats was showing  new members around the building when Marc Cashley asks her do you have a First Aid room and she takes us there. The room had a sign on the door; COATS we thought it was her office, in fact the room was for visitors to leave bagage, we joked it would have been the ideal place to leave  her. Marc asks Coats why does it not have an adjusting bench in it. To which she replies; what for?

Marc says chiropractors like to get adjusted when they have been sitting at meetings all day. To which she answered to our amazement; Its not allowed unless you are going to take a full medical history and examination. Apparently its contrary to the GCC code of practise to treat another chiropractor without taking a full history and medical examination. We all though this was hilarious and for the rest of the day we made jokes about how we could not adjust each other covertly and how a chiropractor with a sports team would have to hold the game up to take everybody’s medical history each time they got adjusted. Today it does not seem so funny.

Think about this, the GCC were happy to accredit MacTimoney college and there is nothing to stop the GCC accrediting physiotherapist schools as chiropractic. The new NICE guidelines are very favourable for spinal manipulation for back pain and there are not enough practitioners in the UK who perform spinal manipulation. In February the GCC  appointed a registered physiotherapist Graham Pope as chairman of its Education Standards committee.His deputy is medical doctor Chris Stephens. The chiropractic profession no longer has any say on who is appointed to its regulatory body, in effect the UK profession has handed its future over to the Medipractor Council and while I left the register kicking and screaming, most UK chiropractors have gone along with this farce, because resigning means; Not a chiropractor, harassment, having to pay 17.5% extra tax and insurance companies will only cover care from registered medipractors/medipractors. 

The ultimate insult from these  medipractors  on the General Chiropractic Council, is that for me to advertise that I correct subluxations could be interpreted as implying that I am a chiropractor and grounds to have me arrested in the UK . They have done this to many of the original principled MacTimoney practitioners, good friends of mine like Tony Gilmore, who saw the medical route the GCC was talking them and resigned, only them to be told by Cunliffe and Coats they were not allowed call themselves MacTimoney practitioners, because MacTimoney was now synonymous with chiropractic in the UK and they were not on the register, some who refused were arrested and charged. This despite the fact MacTimoney graduates are retraining at the Anglo Eoropean College of Chiropractic at this moment, because they did not realise when enrolling that they would not be able to work as a chiropractor outside the UK with this qualification.

From: Richard Lanigan []
Sent: 14 April 2009 23:35
To: Jamie Button ( GCC regulations Officer)
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Dear Jamie,

I am told section 32 of the chiropractic act has been amended with regard to chiropractors who practice and are recognised as chiropractors in other EU countries could you clarify any changes for me please.

Yours sincerely

Richard Lanigan

From: Beatrice Armstrong []
Sent: 16 April 2009 09:42
To: Richard Lanigan
Subject: FW: Removal from the Register

Hello there

I have passed your enquiry about the FOI request to my colleague Paul who will contact you shortly.

I have also checked the legislation and there has been no change to section 32 of the Chiropractors Act.

Kind Regards

Beatrice Armstrong

Registrations Officer

From: Richard Lanigan []
Sent: 16 April 2009 10:58
To: Beatrice Armstrong
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Hi Beatrice,

It may not be in the Act.

Can you tell me, what is the legal position for chiropractors who are recognised as chiropractors in other EU countries or the US  and enter the UK. Are they in breach of section 32 if they call themselves chiropractors while they are here?

Could you also ask Paul to add to my Freedom of Information request; How many practitioners has the GCC investigated for breach of section 32 of the chiropractic act and are these practitioners still being monitored  by the GCC.


From: Jamie Button []
Sent: 21 April 2009 14:44
To: Richard Lanigan
Subject: FW: Removal from the Register

Mr Lanigan – Thank you for your email.

The legal position for chiropractors who are recognised as chiropractors in other EU countries or the US and who come to the UK to practise.

I can confirm that, irrespective of where they are from, anyone who wishes to use the title of chiropractor, whether expressly or by implication, must first of all be registered with the GCC. Should someone not have achieved registration before referring to themselves as a chiropractor then they would be in breach of Section 32(1) of the Chiropractors Act, 1994.

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

Jamie Button


From: Richard Lanigan []
Sent: 21 April 2009 23:13
To: Jamie Button
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for that. I did not say anything about them practising as it is not stated in the act. I asked “what is the legal position for chiropractors who are recognised as chiropractors in other EU countries or the US  and enter the UK. Are they in breach of section 32 if they call themselves chiropractors while they are here? For example someone who is giving a lecture are they allowed call themselves Chiropractor, what if they adjusted another guest at the hotel they were staying at. Would they be reported to the police by the GCC.


From: Margaret Coats []
Sent: 24 April 2009 11:06
To: Richard Lanigan
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Dear Mr Lanigan

Thank you for your enquiry.  It is difficult to provide a definitive answer, since circumstances will vary.  For example, in relation to chiropractors who enter the UK as part of the healthcare teams that support athletes participating in European/International events, the General Council took the view some time ago that if treatment was confined to those athletes within the confines of the sporting venue, then it was unlikely that a report would be made to the police.  The rationale was that there would be no ‘public interest’ basis for a prosecution.

Other than this, I am unable to be of assistance.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Coats

From: Richard Lanigan []
Sent: 24 April 2009 12:11
To: Margaret Coats
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Dear Margaret,

Its been a while.

I did not ask about chiropractors as part of a sports team. I  specifically asked about a chiropractor giving a lecture in the UK.

So as registrar of the GCC can you please tell me if these chiropractors are allowed call themselves Chiropractors while in the UK and would you feel there was a “public Interest” basis for prosecution were they to for example treat/adjust, another guest at the hotel they were staying, because I notice you do say the sports chiropractors should confine themselves to those athletes within the confines of the sporting venue.


From: Margaret Coats []
Sent: 24 April 2009 14:29
To: Richard Lanigan
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Dear Mr Lanigan

Again, I can only say that it’s difficult to provide a definitive answer.  If first-hand evidence of the example that you provide came to the attention of the GCC, we would take advice on how to proceed.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Coats

Chief Executive & Registrar

From: Richard Lanigan
Sent: 27 April 2009 03:10
To: ‘Margaret Coats’
Subject: RE: Removal from the Register

Dear Margaret,

How  could I have ever called you a xxxxx? you are incapable of giving a straight answer.

In case your investigators are trying to find out. I practise as a chiropractor in Ireland Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday mornings, all calls to my Kingston clinic are diverted to Ireland on those days. I have a registered chiropractor who covers for me when needed in Kingston.

An AECC grad will be starting full time in August, they are much more competent than those MacTimoneys you have on your register.

The investigator you sent in three weeks ago may as well have had PI written on his forehead. Genuine patients  would not spend 30 minutes asking the receptionist, if I am a chiropractor. Patients want the best practitioner, be they osteopath, physio, Chiropractor or spinal health care practitioner and I have the best qualifications and CV in this area.

Every one of my active patients know I am not on your register and your investigators are more than welcome to come into my clinic and ask them any time. Assuming your investigation is not personal and you are genuinely concerned and believe that my patients are at risk because I have implied to them that I am still a chiropractor in the UK.


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22 Responses to Margaret Coats may have chiropractors attending the ECU conference in London arrested

  1. Matthew Peay on March 16, 2020 at 17:36

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  2. Richard Lanigan on November 20, 2012 at 19:18

    You must have missed this post Bottom line is Margaret Coats practically brought the chiropractic profession to its knees until her position became untenable and she “retired” The fact another regulator would employ her shows a body who want power over practitioners rather than one that is interested in complementary health care. I resigned from the register because she instructed Private Investigators to go into my clinic posing as patients and would not reveal what they found until I got the Information Commissioners office to force her. Which showed I was not acting unlawfully by continuing to practice chiropractic event though I am not on the register. She is more suited to working in Guantanamo prison, than health care, many posts about her on

  3. [...] at the background of the CEO, she had a very rocky relationship with her chiropractic colleagues: Margaret Coats may have chiropractors attending the ECU conference in London arrested Is this the beginning of the end of Margaret Coats time as Chief executive of the General [...]

  4. Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen on May 17, 2011 at 14:26

    Thanks Nick, been fixed.

  5. Nick K on May 14, 2011 at 20:11

    Stefaan, just wanted to point out that there is a typo on your intro page on your website. Physician is spelled incorrectly. 

    Kind regards


  6. Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen on May 13, 2011 at 15:06

    thanks for this information. The only point I would make is that nowhere does Simon claim to be a chiropractor (whether in the UK or anywhere else for that matter), so I fail to see how this comment and evidence amounts to anything incriminating Simon King in any illegal activity. I am no longer a chiropractor but practice the things I have learned at chiropractic college (amongst others) and as such my non-chiropractor status changes nothing for the patients I look after. 
    Unless of course you didn’t mean the comment in the sense that there was any incrimination….
    Bottom line is that the title chiropractor for many amongst us does not hold any commercial value (in fact I would assert that it costs us more than it brings back). In my mind that means it’s a bad commercial transaction and not one I am happy to indulge in. Until it means something of value to be called a chiropractor, I shan’t indulge.
    Kind regards,

  7. guest on May 12, 2011 at 20:27

    Simon King sent emails advertising his availability to new and “old” clients during his visits – on many different occasions over the past few years. He clearly informed all of his patients that he was going to be “travelling between the UK and Australia” to practice.

    All the below taken from emails sent to his patients:

    May 2010

    Simon King will be available to see a limited number of patients during his visit.

    Naturality Front Desk have his diary, so if you would like to book please ring 01442 800400.

    Charges are as follows:

    Regular appointments �35
    Extended Treatments �50


    If you can’t get in to see Richard in the next couple of weeks, I still have 10 pre-paid places available for my flying visit in October. Click here to pre-pay or call 01442800400 for an appointment.Keeping you strong and healthySimon KingNaturality___________________________ Simon King will be available to see a limited number of patients during his visit from the 16th May to 6th June. New patients are welcome. Did you know that Simon and Amy’s patients achieve an AVERAGE of 33.5% increase in muscle strength without exercise! For more details on the research Simon is doing in Australia to prove that the treatment he and Amy does extends your life click here. Naturality Front Desk have his schedule, so if you would like to grab an appointment please ring 01442 800400. Charges are as follows: New Patients �75 Regular appointments �35Extended Treatments �50

  8. Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen on April 5, 2011 at 13:30

    Hi Rich,
    I think that unless anyone has evidence of Simon calling himself a chiropractor without qualifying that statement with “in OZ but not in the UK” (because he is a chiropractor in OZ, just not in the UK) whilst treating patients in the UK will in my understanding of the GCC’s powers not be able to give him any grief for the actions described above. He was trained chiropractically, he can treat chiropractically, he can manipulate, he can provide treatment for back pain, he can even adjust subluxations, none of these are in the remit of the GCC and in consequence it’s all a storm in a very small baby-blue plastic children’s tea-cup. Unless they have such evidence, it is clear to me that it would just be hear-say and wouldn’t stand up in any court.
    But funny though.
    It has struck me as peculiar that people seem to think the GCC stands for anything other than trade marking the term chiropractor … and facilitating petty disputes between disgruntled colleagues.
    Make love not war

  9. Richard Lanigan on April 5, 2011 at 10:19

    When I did this posting many scoffed at it as being ridiculous, to suggest that Coats would act in this manner to visiting chiropractors to an ECU conference. If the story below is true they had to get rid of her before the Olympics, before she sent police into the Olympic village rounding up chiropractors who were not on the register.

    Someone mentioned to me at the weekend that the AK practitioner and lecturer, Simon King moved back to Australia a few years ago and remained on the register as non practicing.

    Apparently he returned to the UK for the ECU seminar in 2010 and agree to see a few of his former patients while here. Margaret Coats was informed about one of these patients and contacted Simon for an explanation.

    Simon presumably not familiar with this blog admitted seeing the patient and informed Coats that he had also seen a number of other patients while he was here. Obviously these patients knew Simon had moved away and was no longer a chiropractor in the UK was only doing them a favour.

    Apparently not the way Coats saw it and my information is that Simon King is being done by the GCC for practicing chiropractic while only registered as non practicing and the main evidence being used is Simons own admission of seeing patients while he was here.

    If anyone is in touch with Simon King could you ask him if this his true and if he would like to do a posting from Oz about why he would admit anything to Coats and co.

  10. Tim E on July 12, 2010 at 14:05

    I agree with Hussein D. and the case for staying and practicing in Britain is now very weak. Spain is becoming the spiritual home for philosophical chiropractic in Europe. There are opportunities in Spain right now. A beautiful and profitable practice near the beach in Southern Spain is waiting for you if you want to practice here in the sun whilst enjoying the best lifestyle in Europe (+34 646 839 752 or

  11. Sue on May 21, 2010 at 15:42

    ”Go and do a locum in Ireland and join the Irish Chiropractic Association. If you are recognised in Ireland under EU law you have to be recognised in all EU countries. Because EU law supersedes national law. That comes from the CHRE the people who regulate the regulators in the UK”

    Hi Richard, could you please explain this as I don’t understand – also I would prefer it if you emailed the answer to my email address rather than publish this on the site, but I couldn’t find any other way to ask my question. Thanks kindly. Suzanne

  12. Caroline L on May 20, 2010 at 23:42

    “First do no harm” might be a good place to start……

  13. Richard Lanigan on May 16, 2010 at 22:23

    I have been stabbed in the back so many times its like a dart board. I was one of the founder members of the UCA but when it turned into just another political organisation I resigned,

    For me chiropractic is not that that different from other walks of life its about having the self confidence to respect people who think and do things differently, they may even look different.

    I have friends who want to prescribe, who think the future of chiropractic is in the NHS, I dont hold it against them because they have this need for acceptance which is different from my need.
    I think we need a loose “association” with a few ground rules so there is clarity of purpose and not take ourselves too seriously.

  14. Caroline L on May 16, 2010 at 21:14

    PS I believe that when the focus shortly moves to animal treatment we will watch the callously indifferent retreat for once and for all.

    The ones who can’t speak will make the most noise.

  15. Caroline L on May 16, 2010 at 21:03

    @ Hussain D Who asks “Why does this happen again and again within Chiropractic?”

    Because, in my experience, there are many within the profession who are not therapists. I believe they come into the profession for the prestige and because they think that posing in a white coat makes them powerful. They are usually not very bright. They don’t care about their patients. Many who are so callously indifferent to anyone or anything but their own agenda that they simply don’t care and probably never did, never can and never will. I believe this is what the skeptics are tuning into and are acutely uncomfortable with. It is ironic that therapists can be uncaring but they nevertheless walk among us. The therapists don’t fight them because they are caring therapists and caring people don’t usually fight.

    I believe there is a gap in the market for an association that is passionate about putting patients’ needs first.

    The shake-up continues – watch this space. There are some who are not afraid of the callously indifferent……

  16. Hussein D on May 16, 2010 at 19:53

    sounds good on the surface Richard..

    be carfeul to put in place a viable structure for whatever organisation you may plan to put into effect…

    you are a target from the outset and will be scrutinised and entrapped at every corner.. by people you do and do not trust, and those who set out with good intention but flee when any sniff of stress arrives.

    and of course be careful whom you get in league with.

    many will jump ship in a reactionary fashion away from this debacle, but they will need something dependable and complete so they do not run into fray in a couple years down the road.

    I am a Chiropractor, a real one… by that I accept the full statistical ‘bell curve’ of scope of practice.. Innatist to back pain tradesman as a part of our history and legacy… of course, most practitioners fit somewhere into the main bell ..

    I, like the majority of Chiropractors around Europe, have a sense of our roots and a degree of pride and understanding of them…
    there is a lot to improve on though… for me and others.
    I find it hard to keep up with the research material in our favour let alone the politics that undermines it…

    the profession must continue to evolve, abd carry forward her core principles for deeper and further exploration and validation.
    but, those core principles, now ditched by GCC and BCA, are being explored and will be phagocytosed/hijacked by other peripheral professions because of our internal ego based problems…

    Why doe sthis happen again and again within Chiropractic?

    some optional theories –

    a)many who enter the political arena, do so with best intent(happy naivete) but get stifled in the beaurocracy and lose their drive – ie good people gone awry through attrition of their ‘noble spirit’..

    b) some enter it for prestige and will do all to appease the general consensus and rise up the ranks..

    c) some have never studied the history, core principles, or political guagmires of the past, and enter with a one dimensional agenda that suits their own limited understanding of human physiology, let alone the application of Chiropractic.

    d) some are simply ashamed of their background, and too stiff in the upper lip to look into it and come to terms with their own limitations so foist them on the rest, in case those ‘rest’ might get on in life and supercede them…

    e) those in office have been inpractice for some time, may have lost and edge, are feeling the competition, worried about family, future and uncertain trends in the health sector, and simply want to protect their income as best as possible, and may not wish to lean over a bench for another 20 years, hoping to seel their practice for a profit… (despair/delusion/bought off, etc)

    f) any or all of the above..

    I have been in the political arena in the past at low levels… i came through with my principles intact I believe, but i can see how some do not..

    as for moving to Ireland, why go from one damp climate to a damper one with poorer roads? surely Spain is an option also? ECU based and easier to understand too …. La Liga also…

  17. Richard Lanigan on May 16, 2010 at 10:43

    Thats the spirit, I have not heard a chiropractor talk like that in years I was giving up hope. Here is what you do. Go and do a locum in Ireland and join the Irish Chiropractic Association. If you are recognised in Ireland under EU law you have to be recognised in all EU countries. Because EU law supersedes national law. That comes from the CHRE the people who regulate the regulators in the UK.

    This is why the GCC were unable to have me arrested. I have a practice in Ireland and go there one day a week “Ryan Air” £30. I also practice chiropractic in the UK in Kingston upon Thames. I advertise it, my qualifications are on the wall, however as chiropractic is very much damaged goods in the UK. I have found it advantageous to set myself apart from these GCC “registered chiropractors” and refer to myself as a “Spinal Health care practitioner” . see my resignation letter

    I have re branded my practices calling them “Spinal Joint” new website and signage should be finished next week,
    I invite you to become the second member of the Family Chiropractic Association; Website I can have it up by the end of the week (Dreamweaver) Insurance £480 a year with MIA probably the most experienced chiropractic insurers in the UK. BCA left them 5 years ago trying to keep their premiums down and that’s why they are in the shit today, no coverage for the mass complaint and paying more than I do at MIA, why people follow these goats I never know, perhaps because they are also goats.

    I can no longer justify the time I spend fighting the GCC Stazi police, June first I stop writing about the Goats Chiropractic Council (GCC)and start my own body. No Goats test of competence, no registration fees. Only requirement is to have a WHO recognised qualification and to provide traditional chiropractic service without the use of drugs and surgery as a separate distinct profession. You are a chiropractor and if it looks like a rose and smells like a rose, it probably a rose not an osteomyologist.

    Lets build a better profession if you are interested call me tomorrow 0208 2553192

  18. Vicki on May 16, 2010 at 07:46

    I’m a chiropractor from the states (Palmer graduate) here on visa. If only BJ could see the ludacris that the GCC is. Palmer and Chiropractic are synonymous until you land here…in which case there is a governing body that eats its own kind. What a slap in the face to come over here and try and jump through the loops that the GCC has laid out. So I’ll be registered with the osteomyologists and call myself as such regardless of my background. Patients will ask what’s the difference and I can answer honestly…”I haven’t paid thousands of pounds to the governing body here in England to be called the title I recieved after 7 and a half years of education in the states ‘DOCTOR of CHIROPRACTIC.” Read my degree.

  19. Richard Lanigan on May 11, 2010 at 08:21

    To be honest I would like to think they are terrified. However the truth is they stay quiet because they are more than happy have Margaret Coats do the dirty work. To be fair to her she works very hard and is often in Wicklow street late in the evening however the ends could never justify the means.

  20. Caroline L on May 10, 2010 at 22:13


  21. Richard Lanigan on May 9, 2010 at 01:15

    Believe me it was. First day I arrive at wicklow street. Margaret Coats is waiting at the door to great us. She shakes hands with Graham Heale and welcomes him but refuses to offer me her hand. So I stand there with my hand out she starts to turn away letting go of the door, I stand there waiting for the glass door to swing towards my head so she has to turn back to grab the door (because I would have gone down on the floor clutching my head. Graham and Mark Cashley who had walked on would have heard the bang and thought she had hit me) I go thanks Margaret that could have done some damage and laughed. I bet she went home every evening sticking pins in an effigy of me. I had great fun the first six months when I though I could change things. There were ten of us who could not stand her, the other ten were terrified of her.

  22. Caroline L on May 9, 2010 at 00:19

    Reads like a Monty Python sketch!!!


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