Over 90% of BCA chiropractors, not guilty of unprofessional conduct! Is that a good result? Could it have been prevented?

March 3, 2011
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spartacussI love the part in the movie Spartacus where the Romans want to crucify Spartacus and Tony Curtis stands up and says I am Spartacus and one by one other slaves stepped forward in support of Spartacus choosing to die together with honour.

So far 10% of BCA chiropractors have been found guilty of making “bogus” claims based on advice given by a leadership  which has pushing the “evidenced” base line for many years. Chiropractors rightly assumed the information they were been given at their conferences was suitable for advertising and conformed to the GCC code of practice. Thats what you have an association for, to represent you and know this stuff and you dont expect to hear Simon Singh a PhD in particle physics telling  you that there is “no biological basis for what you do” and your association is “happily promoting these treatments” without a “jot” of evidence

Because of a desire to promote the evidence model, members were left high and dry when the shit hit the fan, with no insurance to cover their legal costs. Because the BCA had trimmed coverage to keep costs down. To add insult to injury the BCA members had to agree to have their cases heard behind closed doors to save the GCC from going bankrupt. This the same GCC who were going through the complaints trying to find new evidence they could use against BCA chiropractors. They were being saved by the BCA council, because the majority of chiropractic members of the GCC are BCA members. Its called the old boys club least we forget.

The GCC could not have forced any of the BCA members under investigation to pay their registration fees, BCA member Stefaan Vossen refused to pay in 2009 and 2010, the GCC coucld do nothing and now the case has been dismissed he can either pay £2,000 or come of the register. The BCA council  told their members to pay and fund Margaret Coats persecution of 10% of their members.

BCA members who did not do what head office ordered were not given help to defend their case. I have spoken to some of them. The chiropractors who decide to defend their integrity at an open hearing and go against the BCA’s advice are  the hero’s of the profession and when their hearings come up we must make sure the public gallery’s are full. I have made that appeal before and only a handfull turned up, they were busy the idiots had patients to see??

Richard Brown seems to imply that 90% of chiropractors got off because of BCA support. The fact is the vast majority of chiropractors would have been found guilty if it were not for the fact many of the conditions on the complaints were claims also being made on the GCCs own website. Speaking from personal experience, I can say Margaret Coats is happy to  use questionable methods to gather evidence to support a complaint,  however this was a bridge to far for the Legal Assessor and after legal advice the GCC were not allowed to prosecute those complaints. It would have amounted to entrapment  and Coats was told to find other breaches to charge them with and she did her best to get as many chiropractors as possible in front of the PCC.

If I had remained on the register I would not have been in breach of the code, because I make perfectly clear what I do on my website. I analysis the spine and correct subluxations. While I have seen people with a whole range of conditions, parkinson’s, MS, asthma children with colic, ear infections etc, I do not treat “conditions” or “symptoms”, I correct the subluxations , fixations, stiffys, whatever you want to call them of people who may have conditions.

Its not rocket science, chiropractors dont treat conditions, they correct spinal dysfunction and there is anecdotal evidence that by correcting spinal joint dysfunction certain conditions can be improved, (you then put a link to those studies) and people can decide for them selves not Ernst or skeptics, our customers decide as in any walk of life. I have been advocating this approach since I was at college, but the academics who were desperate to claim “back pain” for chiropractic have led the profession on a merry “evidence based” dance.

This situation will never change because of the variety in causality with pain syndromes and difficulty of standardising the chiropractic intervention. There will never be conclusive “proof” that chiropractic cures back pain and we have to accept that and deal with it. Stick with what chiropractors have been doing for a hundred and fifteen year and dont listen to the fools who hardly ever touch a patient and wish to medicalise chiropractic for their own ends.

I have nothing personal against BCA president Richard Brown, when I have met him or communicated with him he has always been very pleasant. He is knowledge on Medico Legal Facts relating to chiropractic care. However his take on the GCCs decisions in relation to his own members on his Face Book page clearly illustrates that he is the wrong man to lead the profession out of a mess largely created by himself and former BCA president Tony Metcale.

Richard has been a senior figure in the profession for many years, has been paid many thousands by the GCC and knows their code of practice inside out. With that in mind I think he has a cheek to criticise the GCC for not issuing “any specific advice to Registrants in relation to the basis upon which claims could be made about their services until March 2010”. He was theGCC’s main expert witness, involved in the prosecution of many chiropractors and it never occured to him to mention the importance of this in passing.

Is it the GCC’s responsibility or is that what you join an association for, to do it for you and advise you on these matters and provide you with the best insurance deal available.  Claims on website has been an obvious problem since Jesper Jensens case in 2002 and when Margaret Coats started making complaints to the ASA about the claims of AECC graduates who decided not to go on the register. This is one the reasons I fell out with the UCA they were reluctant to go there. They were talking about lights at the end of the tunnel and I was warning them that it was a train.

This is what Richard has to say on Face Book

“Decisions So Far: PCC Find Over 90% of BCA Chiropractors Not Guilty of UPC

There have now been almost 150 cases heard by the PCC in relation to mass complaints against BCA members made by UK sceptics. All cases were heard ‘on papers’ by the PCC. Over 93% of cases heard so far have resulted in not guilty verdicts and in those cases where the content of websites was determined to be in breach of section C1.6 of the GCC Code of Practice, the PCC applied the minimum sanction necessary to protect the public – an admonishment.

The BCA has assisted its members throughout this process by providing detailed legal advice and telephone support from its head office in Reading.

All of the cases related to marketing on particular parts of members’ websites. Allegations did not relate in any way to the treatment of patients. In reaching its decision, the PCC acknowledged the limitations of the Bronfort Report, commissioned by the GCC to investigate the evidence for effectiveness of manual therapies for a number of named conditions. It also noted that the GCC were not pursuing particulars in respect of infant colic, asthma, sciatica, tension headaches, menstrual pain and digestive disorders for the reason that the GCC had itself made reference to these conditions in its leaflets and on its own website.

Cases where members have been found guilty involve extracts from websites relating to the treatment of children. The level of sanction applied by the PCC reflected the fact that this was purely a marketing issue and noted that the GCC had not issued any specific advice to Registrants in relation to the basis upon which claims could be made about their services until March 2010.

These cases do not dictate scope of practice. BCA chiropractors are qualfied to treat patients of all ages and both children and adults can benefit from chiropractic care. The BCA has a number of members whose practices are mainly or wholly dedicated to the care of children and who possess post-graduate qualifications in chiropractic paediatrics”.

Finally Richard states that  “The GCC has published its Regulatory Report 2011 on its website. For more information, see http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/page_file/C-020311-11.pdf. It’s interesting to note that since 2002, the GCC has sought 56 prosecutions for section 32 offences – these are the ones where people are calling themselves/passing themselves off as chiropractors when they’re not on the GCC register. Fewer than 10% (n=5)resulted in a conviction. In 68% of cases (n=38) the police/CPS took no action. Protection of the public? Hmmm..”

A statement like this sound good to people who know little about whats going on. The public “needs protecting”. From who? Does Richard not realise how the skeptics will use his statement for  years to come. Richard Brown appears to be saying the public need protecting from AECC graduates like Richard Lanigan who are not on the register”. I am sure he did not intend it to come out like that, just like I am sure they did not intend for Simon Singh to bring the UK profession to its knees, but that the way it has come out.

Section 32 is for the police to seedk convictions, not the GCC, if someone is breaking the law and the GCC have information pass it on to the police and let them do their job rather than have Margaret Coats do the investigation for them. In fact the GCC have gone further than any other regulator seeking enforcement of section 32 according to the CHRE. They have used terrorist legislation to instruct Private Investigators, taping my phone calls, and trying to entrap me into saying I was a chiropractor.

This suggests the GCC is prepared to go to questionable lengths to get chiropractors arrested. Regulation is bad because the GCC behave like they do and get away with it, because guys who are supposed to be representing their members, or guys who have worked with Margaret Coats have  looked the other way when Margaret Coats put on her hobnailed boots and trampled over practitioners who were just trying to help people.

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  • Amitpatel

    No Andrew , I did not make any dodgy claims. The complaint was made by a chiropractor who I worked for, because I provided evidence for another chiropractor at the practice in an empolyment tribunal.

    The chiropractor who I worked for made a complaint to the GCC to get revenage against me, in which he lied about me, and made racist comments about me. I had all the evidence that he was lying… but the BCA did not provide me with any support, told me the insurance would not cover me regarding this matter and ignored the racist comments.

    So I had to pay out my pocket for legal advise and defend myself., the case got dropped at the IC stage. My local MP was made aware of the racist comments and was very concerned about it, especaially how the BCA and GCC tried to sweep it under the carpet.

    I think those BCA chiropractors who had complaints made agaisnt them, are fools if they listen to what the so called “senior bca members” are telling them…. they will be hung drawn and quatered….. my advise would be to leave , and get proper legal advise!!! That is what I did…..

    I have been keeping my local MP updated about the goings on in the profession on a regular basis and plan to see him next month.

    I have not forgotten what they did to me….. Im waiting for the right time to get my own back….and I certainly will…..

  • http://www.chiropracticlive.com Richard Lanigan

    I dont dismiss it, I dont think it is likely.

    I adjust the cervical spine of every patient that has spinal dysfunction, this is every single person who comes in to see me. I have had one bad reaction out of thousands of adjustments and that was a rib muscle and that was a thoracic adjustment.

    If the spinal joint is not compromised pathologically and its range of movement is resticted. I can not think of one reason why I would not adjust it. I have patients with Parkinsons, Cancer, heart disease, Osteoporosis, patients in their 90s and new borns. I have absolute confidence in my technique. THats why I offered to debate Simon Perry in public and demonstrate on anyone who wished to try. The would see the cervical range of movement before an adjustment, they would feel the adjustment, they would hear the adjutment and I could guarente the range of movement will have increased afterwords. Will that cure the cancer of corse not, are they expecting a cure for cancer, no. They feel better when their joints are moveing smoothly rather than being stiff.

    Now if there is evidence of a causal relationship between a chiropractic adjustment and arterial discection I would want to know about it any chiropractor would want to know . I adjust my kids neck, if I thought there was the remotist posibility of tearing their vertebral arery I would not do it and I dont know any chiropractor who would.

  • http://twitter.com/welshandgrumpy Colin Jenkins

    I can’t help notice that you justify chiropractic using anecdotal evidence and yet simply dismiss anecdotal evidence of stroke after chiropractic…

  • http://www.chiropracticlive.com Richard Lanigan

    Spinal Joint dysfunction/ vertebral subluxation and Chiropractic
    So Andrew,I am presuming you have very limited knowledge of anatomy and physiology, to start taking of “beliefs” etc. I am an atheist myself and I try to respect other peoples beliefs by not commenting on their religion but when people say something that is just down right ignorant or ill-informed I try to explain. However skeptics as a rule dont seem interested in anatomy and focus more on their prejudices they have about chiropractic.

    (Its been 20 years but here goes) The spine has 24 vertebra 23 of them are joined by two facet joints, which allow a certain range of movement. Thats 46 synovial joints each enclosed by a capsule that is innervated by nerves that supply the mussels that cross the joint. Each joint can be just as injured or painful as a sprained ankle and there are 46 and are small and vulnerable to injury in certain conditions .

    When the joint moves synovial fluid is produced and the receptors are stimulated which stimulate cells in the central nervous system which connects with many other cells which play a role in the physiological systems the body uses to maintain homeostasis and wellbeing. Having a healthy spine is a pre requsit for health and well being, after things like water, good nutrition, exercise. Having friends and love in you live is also very important.

    There has been a huge increase in Spinal dysfunction since people started using computers, the capsules around the joint become stiff, they become inflamed, they become more stiff, the irritate the nerves which stimulate sensory sensors in the brain which stimulate motor sensors which produce muscle spasm causing more joint restriction pain and inflammation. Over time the problem becomes chronic over more time (years) leads to Osteo Arthritis which is not reversible.

    No doubt the early early muscle enabled hunter gatherers to continue foraging for food, a species that was more active than ours and life expectancy was early forties.

    Restoring motion to the joint, has an inhibitory effect on pain transmission, reduces muscle spasm. You would also expect to see improvement in the co- ordination of the muscles crossing that spinal joint for starters which is principly controlled by pathways going through the cerebellum.

    It would appear the joke is on you Andrew if you have been living your live assuming that no symptoms means you are healthy. You may have spinal joint dysfunction which has compromised range of motion and the joint has statret to degenerate and you dont even know it Spinal joint dysfunction will compromise the systems your body requires for good heath.

    What I do is not “alternative” or “complementary” its what anyone with basic knowledge of joint function. This approach has revolutionised the medical approach to knee surgery in recent years. The fact is the chiropractic approach to joint motion ffor 115 years was what should have been the orthodox way, while drugs and surgery the alternative.

    Even chiropractors reading this are thinking Lanigan is good. Why dont I explain it like that. Its because the colleges have embraced the biomedical model and chiropractors talk about”treatment” “pain syndromes” “conditions” and “cures” on my website I say there is anecdotal evidence that by correcting the spinal joint dysfunction it can help condition x,y,z. Its not a cure or a treatment for those conditions the way insulin is a treatment for diabetes.

    So yes chiropractors have been stupid and naive the way they published their websites. Ten percent will be punished for doing what all of them were doing its just they were the unlucky ones who showed up in Zenos Google search. When chiropractors were made aware of the seriousness of the situation McTimoney and UCA chiropractors removed their websites.

    To hang out a small group of chiropractors in this way and make an example of them is outrageous. When we know there are a small minority of chiropractors who get up to some very questionable practice and because they know what they are doing is unethical they cross all their Ts and dot the Is and the GCC cant touch them unless a patient makes a complaint.The profession should have stood together on this and held their hands up rather than handing over “Spartacus”

    Nevertheless for the GCC to spend millions of pounds in a serious recession for the entertainment of skeptic “moron baiting” rather than to use the money for improving standards (which is the real issue) and protecting the public is criminal. Representitives of chiropractic from all over the world should hang their head in shame for not preventing this from happening

  • http://www.chiropractorswarwick.co.uk Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Thanks for the mention Rich.
    Being put in the Spartacus context isn’t really my gig as you know but the thing that struck me after we discussed this topic (and specifically your surprise at my non-payment of GCC fees) was that it seems either very few people were aware of the fact the GCC could not force anyone to pay or many people just don’t like to rock the boat. On the assumption of the former, I would say that the BCA and other organisations could have made a stance and lost an opportunity. On the assumption of the latter I would say that for those who are not yet aware: the boat is rocking quite heavily and when your boat is sinking whilst still in the harbour, you really need to go back into port and fix that great big leak in the hull before going to sea.
    Just for the reader’s clarity; I am for regulation, real, proper, solid and meaningful regulation.
    Regards,
    Stefaan

  • http://www.chiropractorswarwick.co.uk Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen

    Hi Andrew,
    I would love to understand the meaning of “are you having a laugh? Seriously you don’t really believe that, do you?”
    I would love to understand what the meaning of this open-ended statement is as it could be interpreted in so many ways… and each would open an entirely different discussion, so please, do elucidate your position.
    Stefaan

  • Andrew Gilbey

    They hung you out to dry? Why, did you make some dodgy claims?

  • Andrew Gilbey

    Richard, where you write,

    “Its not rocket science, chiropractors dont treat conditions, they correct spinal dysfunction and there is anecdotal evidence that by correcting spinal joint dysfunction certain conditions can be improved, (you then put a link to those studies) and people can decide for them selves not Ernst or skeptics, our customers decide as in any walk of life”

    are you, having a laugh? Seriously, you don’t really believe that, do you?

  • Amitpatel

    I’m not a big fan of Richard Brown and the BCA. I lost my faith in the BCA when the hung me out to dry in 2007!

    It is a shame that Richard Brown has not heard of the good old saying “ Engage brain before opening mouth” If he did then he would not have or STILL continue to bring the chiropractic profession into disrupt.

    I’ve sent a link to this website to my local MP who is a personal friend of mine….

    Its only a matter of time… and that’s all it is.. before the truth comes out… its going to be exciting to see which way all the water rats run and if they stab each other in the back to save there own skin. I’m sure it will get very messy…..

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