Catch 22 and the General Chiropractic Council

When I wrote this in 2006 I had no idea how true this was and would ultimatly would result in my expulsion from council. I have also included some of the comments to it. (richard March 2008)

Catch 22
People who complain a lot could be voted off council by the other council members. The Constitution and Procedures of the GCC 1999 state
“A decision by the council to remove a member of the council from office shall be made by resolution of the council passed at a meeting of the council by a majority of the council members present and voting: and for this purpose, the member proposed to be removed shall not be entitled to vote”.
There are a number of reasons someone can be kicked off council, two of those reasons G and E seem to make it virtually impossible for council members to express heart felt objections without running the risk of sanctions.

G) states a council member can be removed if; “He” has brought the council into disrepute or has otherwise acted contrary to the best interests of the council:
I take that to mean while a registered chiropractor can have objections to certain people involved in the regulation of the chiropractic profession however it may not be so advisable for a council member to do so. It could be interpreted that the member was acting “contrary to the best interests of the council” and we know what that means.

If you were wondering why some GCC members are reluctant to talk when they meet you. It is because E) states a member may be removed from office if; “He” has disclosed to another person who is not a member of the council without the consent of the council any information which is known to him in confidence by reason of his membership of the council.

image For those of you who are not familiar with Joseph Heller’s book Catch 22, Yossarians dilemma was that the only way he could get out of flying missions in the War was to say he was mad. But if he told the doctor he was mad to get out of flying, he could not therefore, be mad.
Its basic meaning is that if there was a rule, no matter what the rule is, there is always an exception to it. It is a mysterious regulation that is in essence a circular argument. This catch keeps Yossarian in the war because a concern for one’s own life proved that he is not really crazy. The catch is used by the superior powers to uphold and increase their power, and yet it is harmful to those who do not have power in the first place.
The GCC has a statuary duty to

protect the public. However if an individual GCC member objects to GCC policy, they risk being voted off council, neither could they tell a concerned member of the public or a colleague that they disagreed and were acting in the public interest, because they would also risk being voted off council. This enables the GCC to imply to those members of the public and the profession that they are all in agreement. Members of the public like Certacito who are trying to hold onto their chiropractor are kept in the dark.

So how would Yossarian let Certacito know how many chiropractors supported the GCC decision to suspend Warren Gage. How would Yossarian tell this "member of the public" that only 50% of council members supported the GCC chairman (who had fobed him off in a letter), when it was not going to be reported in the council minutes.

Below is a response from a patient of Warren Gage, who formed a group to protest his suspension from the GCC for missleading patients by publishing their testimonials. The complainant was Margaret Coats the Registrar and even though the charge was "potentially missleading patients" so no the fact no patients complained was no a problem for Margaret or her side kick Greg Price.

This posting seems to explain my receipt of evasive answers to my letter to Drs Copland-Griffiths and KevinGrant expressing my dismay and disgust at the treatment of Dr Gage. My reply to Dr Dynamic of 27 March also refers, and I have noted his reference to Health Care Regulators.
I have a pile of papers here relating to my concern about Dr Gage’case, including what I thought was a somewhat aggressive letter from Gregory Price saying that a complaint had been made against Dr Gage (who made it?) and asking me and my wife who wrote our testimonials to Dr Gage seemingly implying that somebody else wrote them!! Is it of some relevance that Copland-Griffiths and Price have now gone? I am interested to see references to Linda Stone who chaired the week-long hearing of Dr Gage’s case

26th August 2004

Dear Dr Copland-Griffiths and Dr Grant

I am writing to express my serious concern at the treatment of my chiropractor, Dr Gage, by the Professional Conduct Committee of your Council.

I commence by referring to a letter dated 27th April 2003 which I wrote to your Council about an article entitled “Who says my chiropractor is not holistic?” signed anonymously by “A chiropractor and one of her not so stupid patients”. I was amazed by what I read. It was a criticism of chiropractors from abroad, who did not qualify in the United Kingdom and who, according to the article, practise in a different way from those trained here, in a way to which the writers of the article are distinctly hostile. The article implies that people like me and all Dr Gage’s patients are stupid.

My letter was in strong support of Dr Gage and the way he treats me. He comes from Canada, is very well qualified and experienced and he has changed my life and that of my wife.

I received a reply dated 1st May from Philippa Barton-Hanson to say that she had read my letter with much interest and was very pleased that chiropractic has had such a positive effect on my health and that of my wife. She said that she had forwarded my letter to Mrs Maureen Atkinson, Editor of Backchat (which printed that article) and Chairman of the Chiropractic Patients Association, to give her an opportunity to reply. That led me to believe that that I would hear from Mrs Atkinson as her Association is there to help chiropractic patients. But I heard nothing from her.

Instead, my wife and I received letters dated 13th October, in somewhat contentious terms, from Mr Gregory Price informing us that Dr Gage was being investigated by your Council’s Investigating Committee, following a complaint against him,

and questioning us about testimonials we had written in praise of Dr. Gage and all he had done for us. I do not know what might have happened between May and October but when I went to your Council’s web site to read the Findings of the Hearing against Dr Gage I was somewhat surprised to see that Mrs Atkinson, editor of Backchat, was

a member of your Council’s Investigating Committee which, according to Mr Gregory Prices letter, initiated the action against Dr Gage.

To say that I am appalled at the Council’s decision to suspend Dr Gage is to put it mildly. In my opinion it is an outrageous act of injustice, and goes against true British justice and fair play.

I note from your letter heading that your Council’s aims are “Protecting patients, Setting standards and Promoting the profession.”

I have studied the "Findings" carefully and it seems to me that the verdict and sanction cannot by any reasonable person be seen to be fair. So far as the GCC’s aims referred to in the preceding paragraph are concerned I see nothing in Dr Gage’s actions which conflict with those aims – nothing which requires the GCCs protection from him. Quite the reverse – Dr Gage has been prevented from treating me and all his other patients so that we can continue our state of well-being which we have all come to expect and receive. I see nothing in those aims which could support a claim that material standards have not been met. So far as promoting the profession is concerned, what I have learned from Dr Gage’s practice is the best possible promotion of the profession as he practises it. The more people there are to do that the better.

My wife and I have been in the care of Dr Gage for three years. Before we met him our lives looked quite bleak. I am in my 82nd year and my wife is in her 80th. Three years ago we were suffering pains in various parts of our bodies often using pain killers and pain sprays.

We thought we would have to give up our pleasures such as gardening and indoor bowls and to some degree we found difficulty and discomfort in normal movements.

We learned of Dr Gage quite by chance. We consider ourselves fortunate that he has changed all that by his technique of creating “wellness” by a method of chiropractic of which we had previously not heard. Neither of us had visited physiotherapists, osteopaths or those who treat pain by the manipulation of joints. Nor would we wish to.

It seems that the threat to Dr Gage’s practice was caused by a notion that it is wrong for him to advertise his practice, and wrong to tell as many people as possible of his ability to create “wellness” by his long years of training and by his skill. I have seen him treating newly born babies who have suffered trauma at being born, and other infants, with infinite care. Early treatment at that age must have undoubted benefits as the children grow. I understand that he has treated hundreds of infants and children of all ages.

Your Council’s action has deprived us, and others of whom we know, of something which had come into our lives unexpectedly and which brought with it a better quality of life. Nothing could demonstrate that better than the success we have had with our indoor bowls – both of us being recognised as being pretty good at the game.

Why is it wrong for Dr Gage to let as many people as possible know what can be done?Why is it wrong for Dr Gage to reduce the pressure on the NHS and family doctors by his method of keeping people well?Why is it wrong for Dr Gage to assist the Government by reducing the need for more doctors and nurses from abroad?

Having read the Findings and Verdict of the GCC’s case against Dr Gage my opinion of Dr Gage has not changed one iota. The GCC’s case was based upon the publication

of testimonials as to his ability to which the GCC took exception. Allegedly some of those testimonials contained elements which were against the rules of the GCC.

But they were written by patients of Dr Gage, not by Dr Gage. They were written because the patients concerned thought it right for others to be aware of what can be done by this, to me, new form of treatment , and new approach to the well-being of people by a Doctor not trained in the UK. If that offends the GCC and its rules, and the Act of Parliament of 1994 upon which the rules are said to be based then those rules and that Act should be changed so as to have the advantages suggested in the three questions above, and allowing chiropractors who have not been trained in Britain to treat people without let or hindrance .

It was only a small part of some of the testimonials which, the GCC said, could be interpreted to imply that Dr Gage’s treatment was able to cure diseases such as cancer. Dr Gage has never in my experience made any such claim about that or any other disease although I have to say that I personally believe that anything is possible as the art and science of medicine progresses as it has in past centuries.

What the GCC has used to sanction Dr Gage arose from incidental references in some of the content of the testimonials which were not of the substance of the testimonials – written by patients not by Dr Gage.

A testimonial which I wrote appears on page 2 of the findings. That reference has excluded the main content of my testimonial which describes all the benefits which I have received. The Findings simply include a reference to my incidental question to Dr Gage as to whether the treatment I had been receiving and the ability of the body to heal itself could possibly have healed a cataract in which I thought I had detected some improvement. Dr Gage’s reply was a non-committal “that it was possible”. I now ask – should he have said “no” which would negate all efforts to help the body to heal itself? Should he have said “yes” when clearly this would have been too forthright an answer at this stage of the advance of healing? Clearly his answer was an appropriate one.

The GCC then omitted two paragraphs from my testimonial so that the paragraph about the cataract came immediately before my final paragraph which offered the prospect of a better quality of life by going to Dr Gage, as though that paragraph was germane to my question about cataracts. It was not – it was relevant only to the main part of my testimonial and anybody with any degree of commonsense who reads my testimonial could not have been misled into thinking that chiropractic, even as practised by Dr Gage would heal a cataract.

I learned that the Chairman of the Panel conducting the Hearing is a Pharmacist who is also on the GCC’s Education and Professional Conduct Committees, and is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Council..As part of the Council’s case against Dr Gage was based upon his reference to the use of medication in his booklet about chiropractic, this appointment to the Chairmanship of the Panel to a pharmacist is, to say the least, very surprising.

This is not to say that I am opposed to pharmacists. On the contrary; I use my local pharmacy, which is within walking distance of local elderly people like me, frequently for my medication as prescribed by my GP, which Dr Gage knows all about. I feel so strongly about the accessibility of local community pharmacies that I have written to MPs opposing the Government’s plans to licence superstores as pharmacies, with a consequent threat to local community pharmacies.

What your Council have done is to deprive me and many others of the chance to have a continuing quality of life which Dr Gage’s treatment has given us. Indeed I am already feeling stress pains which I have not experienced for many months.

What I have read makes me ashamed to be British.

I cannot but wonder how this investigation came about and upon what it is truly based other than professional jealousy and opposition to Chiropractors from North America if the article in Backchat is anything to go by.

People such as Dr Gage, with a mission to do good, to help people in their search for well-being and health deserve far better than what has happened to him. He is a highly trained and experienced young man with a brilliant career before him, a career blighted by the action of your Council.We who support Dr Gage, who with his wife and staff created a practice full of warmth and friendliness, hope he will appeal against this sanction and that he is successful.

I think this is a sad reflection on life in Britain today and ask that you copy this letter.

to the rest of the General Chiropractic Council.

Yours sincerely

Stan. C. Procter

CC: Dr Vincent Cable MP, Melanie Johnson MP., David Lidington MP, Dr John Reid MP, Paul Burstow MP, Andrew Dismore MP, Tom Brake MP, Councillor Andrew Pelling Sutton and Croydon GLA Member, Rt. Hon Charles Kennedy MP and the British Institute of Human Rights..

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