Margaret Coats could care less about the chiropractic profession

Published with the permission of Hagan McQuaid former President of the Chiropractic Association of Ireland. His letter is from 2004. This letter should bring comfort to Chiropractic sceptics who are hoping to put BCA professional indemnity insurance through the GCC_edited-1


November 15, 2004

Mrs. Margaret Coats
GCC Chief Executive and Registrar

coats-on-sun Dear Mrs. Coats,
I would like to introduce myself, my name is Hagan McQuaid and I am writing on behalf of our national professional association, the Chiropractic Association of Ireland.
Recently, our members had their professional indemnity insurance withdrawn (i.e. costs paid in event of legal action and not just award). This is a crushing blow to the profession here and leaves any of us open to a spurious claim, which if fought and lost could end our livelihoods. We were informed this was as a direct result of the continued and relentless UK GCC prosecutions being brought against practitioners and the costs involved in defending such.
As you will know there has been increasing disquiet in regard to the GCC and its disciplinary proceedings and prosecutions, and as such we believed it to be an internal matter for the profession in the UK. Given the detrimental effects now felt for the profession in Ireland as a direct result, we no longer believe this to be so and wish to make a formal compliant.
The importance of such is that this email is being cc’ed to the executives of national professional associations Europe wide, the ECU and the three leading chiropractic associations worldwide, the WFC, WCA and ICA.

The bias shown in the decision to prosecute practitioners on the basis of their practice principles is apparent. It no longer has the appearance of either fairness or objectivity. There also should be no doubt that this will have such detrimental effects for the profession Europe wide. Compare this to the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) in the UK. They don’t appear to have such a problem and nor does its profession. It is clear the GOC does not have an agenda. This is not so clear in the case of

the GCC.

Recently a decision was challenged in the UK High Court, which the GCC claimed they had won in full. On closer examination, the high court findings were not so clear. The judge ruled that no suspension be served but because it was between two dates and not a term, effectively and regretfully the appellant had served the suspension.

One point of contention was the appointment of a lady involved heavily within the pharmaceutical industry as chairperson of the GCC Professional Conduct committee. Whilst we would agree with the judge that a profession should be honoured to have such a prestigious individual sitting as a layperson on its governing council, we disagree as to the suitability and draw comparison to appointing a butcher chairperson to a board governing vegetarians.
Another issue was in regard to the efficacy of medication. Everybody knows that it is better to be "healthy" than "medicated." Subluxation based care aimed at wellness helps provide this.

Now another pending prosecution has been brought to our attention with the deliberate intent of prosecution where what appeared to be a genuine client, (and who presented themselves as so) surreptitiously recorded both the practitioner’s report of findings along with a further 30 minute phone call on a later date where it appears her only intention was to draw out lines of complaint on the philosophical basis of the practitioner’s practice and proposed program of care. A forty-page transcript was provided by the GCC to the practitioner. Whilst we would like to point out we are not saying this is GCC directed it is however, clearly entrapment, is repugnant and should not be acceptable.

The GCC should register and take onboard that a spread of opinions exist and not be prescriptive to exclude such differences in opinions. The profession, as a political entity, should be able to accept that differences of opinion are present, as in all professions, and accept that such is life. That some people will try to force their views on everybody else, or destroy the profession in trying, is another and much more serious matter.

Chiropractic legislation was put forth in the UK on the basis of public safety and the promotion of the profession. This is not happening. It would appear the GCC is attempting to limit access to a valid emergent consumer choice of healthcare in the UK, subluxation based chiropractic care.
The ripples of the GCC misdirection is now beginning to be felt external to the UK and it must stop and in the very least not be replicated anywhere else. It is time to examine the GCC from the bottom up and its aims.
This leads to our final question – who is the GCC accountable to?

Yours sincerely

Hagan McQuaid
Chiropractic Association of Ireland

Cant find the copy of Coats wordy response, where she tries to move the focus onto The “offensive comment” about the Chair of the PCC Linda Stone. I did not think Hagan was calling Linda Stone a butcher. Margaret Coats can be sensitive when it suits her. Even turned on the tears once at a council meeting because I had criticised her and she wanted an apology. 



Margaret Coats
Chief Executive and Registrar
General Chiropractic Council
44 Wicklow St.

February 1, 2005

Dear Ms. Coats
Thank you for your detailed reply of November 25, 2004 to which we have given careful consideration.
Although the reply is detailed it diminishes the most important aspect of our email and its intention; to bring to your attention that GCC procedures, prosecutions, the necessity of legal defence involved, the lack of opportunity to resolve complaints without prohibitive punishment, the lack of avenue of appeal (except for Judicial review or High Court) and the costs involved has had a ripple effect upon the profession outside of its jurisdiction.

The attitude that our association has had plenty of time to adapt to the loss of professional indemnity insurance as a result of the above is inappropriate. You failed to take on board that Royal Sun Alliance no longer found it feasible to continue covering chiropractors both inside the UK and beyond into Ireland as a direct result of the policies and procedures of the GCC, a statutory body charged with, amongst other things, promotion of the profession. The problem lies not in our lack of adaptation but with the costs and the impression of unprofessionality resultant from the policies and procedures of the complaint process.

Your reply refers to an alleged offensive reference in our email to a respected and valued member of the Professional Conduct Committee. The reference in the email clearly critises the action and further affirms the person in question. The reference was comparative and not intended to be offensive. If it was received as such we apologise. However, such an appointment, i.e. of a pharmacist to a chiropractic professional conduct committee, is antagonistic to many in the profession, remembering that a clear majority of the profession surveyed recently by the WFC oppose the use of prescription drugs. It is one thing to be investigated and found guilty by a panel of your peers. It is another to be investigated and found guilty by those you perceive antagonistic to your position and principles.

We take on board the Investigating Committee’s need for confidentiality.
Our members were affected detrimentally in regard to their professional indemnity insurance and as we were informed this was as a direct result of GCC procedures, it would have been remiss of us as a professional association representing our members not to bring this to your attention. It now we believe requires action on your, the GCC’s, behalf for the profession as a whole.
Best Regards
Yours sincerely
Dr. Hagan McQuaid
Vice President

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