Dana has given me permission to publish her letter . Remember although there is a new “Reformed GCC” its the same old minus the “whingers” who wanted to change it for the better.
A number of council members wanted to have Dana’s letter put on the agenda for a closed council meeting February 2008, the Chairman Peter Dixon refused. My efforts to bring these issues to the surface is what subsequently led to my removal from council in March 2008. Peter Dixon was not happy with Dana naming and criticising CHRE (Council for Health Care and Regulatory Excellence) members in her letter, as it might “damage the good relationship the GCC had built up with them”. I have removed the names of CHRE members from the letter so its for others to look into how the CHRE were able to reward Peters support in their annual report on the GCC. (Freedom of Information Act.)
After ten years on the GCC, the Incompetence, factions, intimidation and hidden agendas are worse than when we started. During that time, any and all efforts towards ‘openness and transparency’ have been quashed.
Following are just a few of the episodes unacceptable in a statutory body:
1. A senior member of staff, responsible for the regulation of chiropractors posted anti-chiropractic material on national and international web sites under the name ‘Cognitio.’ I initially alerted Margaret to two web sites on which Cognitio posted – one in the UK which was already being investigated and a second in the US which interestingly removed all traces of Cognitio a few days later. I printed them off beforehand and append them here (ref. 1)
Greg Price was ‘Cognitio’ and has quietly disappeared. Despite numerous questions from many members of Council there have been no explanations.
a. Where did the information come from regarding graduates from certain
chiropractic colleges failing the TOC? The information posted is defamatory if it is not true and, true or not, it is a breach of confidentiality.
b. Why has an employee of the GCC not been investigated for breaching
confidentiality in the above instance and putting the GCC at risk? This is
especially pertinent as we spent £100k altogether on the web site
investigations part of this to ‘clear’ Greg’s name.
c. Why has the GCC not sued him for recompense?
d. Why has Margaret Coats, as his line manager, not been called to account for his behaviour? After all, there were several complaints made about him.
Additionally Greg ‘fuelled’ complaints and may well have filtered them. Any efforts to get his department audited were met with derision.
2. When one of my colleagues questioned procedures from the regulatory officer, they were sent to Jo Ashton (who did the training for committee work) to discuss how they ‘could better understand their obligations’.
This colleague had a former patient complain that when she queried an incorrect payment at a chiropractic clinic with the GCC, a solicitor was sent to take a statement which she neither asked for not desired. She was quite unhappy with this. My colleague was trying to clarify the issue. Obviously, an issue before the IC cannot be discussed, but a genuine query from a full Council member should never have been handled in this fashion.
3. During the transition period some prospective chiropractors were called for an interview, a panel on which I often sat. Margaret changed the outcome of at least two interviews, which is her right. However, I sat as a panellist on one of these and was the only member not to have been consulted. I append the relevant correspondence. This is unacceptable.
Margaret refused to say how many outcomes of interviews had been changed, stating she would have to spend time looking through the paperwork to find the information. Although the Registrar has the right to deny registration, Council was never made aware that this had occurred.
There are long intervals between Council meetings therefore timely and complete agendas are essential for Council to fulfil its statutory duties.
4. The last GCC meeting that I attended (1st May 2007) was a travesty of regulation. SEVEN tabled papers, most of them financial, is totally unacceptable particularly as we had an informal pre-meeting where these could have been disseminated and discussed. This looks engineered.
Additionally, I tried twice to get an item on the agenda on the issue of chiropractors selling on commission. It was refused. It was finally brought up under AOB where it was correctly debated and decided – by Council. (Please note that the advice being given out on the topic by the office was incorrect and needed addressing). The Council is responsible to Parliament for the GCC’s working and decisions. It is not acceptable that the agenda is too often decided behind the scenes.
5. Brian Mouatt, the Secretary of State appointee was treated badly.
He was denied attendance at the meeting with Englehart dealing with Judicial Review when, in his capacity as SoS ( secretary of State) appointee for Education, his presence was essential. His resignation was blandly noted – and without any reason for it in the minutes until I amended them some time later.
He was incredibly hard working for the Council and a man of integrity. He literally walked out, with absolutely no warning, at the end of the December 2006 meeting. He felt humiliated. His views were denigrated and ignored (and he also had a complaint made against him)
6. Richard Rumary left under similar circumstances. He was at the meeting with the solicitors to discuss using interviews for registration during the transitional period. His view of the legal advice was different (and he has had legal training) from that of the office and he felt he could not continue to work with the Council.
He also put in a huge amount of extra work for the GCC in those early years, unsung and unrewarded. With his legal background he spent endless hours helping with the Rules and other documentation (such as those for Registration and Retention, Code of Practice, etc.) He was also a man of considerable integrity, without ego and with a wonderful sense of humour. The GCC lost two excellent men.
7. A letter addressed to me was opened by the office, read, acted upon (sent to the chairman) and retained. It is ludicrous to say the ‘office policy’ (which was never verified) was to open mail. The policy, if it existed, certainly did not extend to reading, acting upon and retaining it. This was invasion of privacy and theft. Why protect such activities in an employee. Can you imagine if I had interfered with the GCC”s post? (Ref. 3)
Talent were not used to advantage as the example above with Brian Mouatt. Additionally, I was the only chiropractor on the GCC trained to treat animals.
8. When the GCC held a meeting with the animal osteopaths and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons about the legal aspects of treating animals, I was excluded. (In the end I invited myself).
We have an overburdened, expensive and ludicrous fitness to practice system that engenders derision from the legal fraternity and pure paranoia from the profession. [The last ten PCC cases resulted in one dismissal, seven admonishments and two conditions of practice]
The GCC, as a whole, is responsible to Parliament and not a law onto itself. [Recently, deputy chair of the Health Profession Council had to resign . In addition, several members of CHRE were removed for an expensive ‘junket’ to Australia]
Admittedly the present government is corrupt beyond belief but that does not mean that the GCC is either immune from examination or should accept its shortcomings. There is room for improvement! Go for it. Perhaps we may eventually have a cohesive regulatory body mirroring a similar profession.
Dana Green December 2007
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