These are excerpts from Richard Browns message to members in the latest BCA newsletter “In Touch”
Richard Brown has featured quit a lot in the last 12 months Now he is concerned that he and the BCA are being misrepresented by people like me. He thinks the BCA council and Sue Wakefield know what is best for members, there is no need for them to consult members before making decisions (Simon Singh)”. This week he told members how last October members supported his “Vision Values and Identity and assumed they would not be interested in forming an alliance with other UK chiropractors to stand up to a regulator that is not fit for purpose, even though 600 BCA members are facing hearings which must be a record for a regulatory body.
Brown states (in red, my comments in black) “This is a tough time for many of us. With 600 complaints being currently considered by the GCC’s Investigating Committee there is a sense of frustration, anger, injustice and resignation. Some have already had notification that their cases are to be referred to a hearing of the professional Conduct Committee, facing allegations of unacceptable professional conduct. Their “crime”? To have made claims that chiropractic (which is a profession, not a treatment) can help (not cure) conditions for which the Advertising Standards Authority has not yet authorised as being capable of substantiation.”
This could have all been prevented after the Jensen case in 2002. As the expert for Jesper Jensen I wrote two long reports on what Jesper Jensen had written on his website, we lost. The BCA had little involvement in the actual case and at the request of Sue Wakefield I wrote a report for the BCA council and its members.
I saw these problems coming. I predicted this and in my testimony to the PCC (which I will scan next week) I states a number of times, chiropractors should not be claiming to treat conditions (the GCC thought it was ok to make claims about back pain) because it leaves chiropractors open to this sort of complaint. It has not happened before because only Margaret Coats had complained about Marc Cashleys site.
The BCA council refused to comment on my report or distribute it to members, because it was highly critical of the GCC and their expert witness (now a GCC member) David Byfield (who I have talked about many times on this blog.) I dont think Byfield did any more expert work after this his place taken by the highly productive Richard Brown, its been a nice little earner for Richard Brown over the years . I put the first report on the net and anyone who says the GCC does not want to restrict scope of practice is wrong (read it). Its that the GCC cant restrict the scope of practice because its written into the Chiropractic act ( this is what has saved McTimoney). I also sent a letter to BCA members to warn them How much is this Body Politic Going to Cost us all ( This resulted in David Byfield making numerous complaints about me to the GCC and the BCA and as bad as the GCC disciplinary process is, it pales in comparison to the BCAs process, which is behind closed doors you are not shown all the evidence against you and is not in line with human rights law) read my letter to BCA members and tell me what did the BCA learn from this previous case. The GCC has form for moving the goal posts what did the BCA learn, nothing. Browne might say he was not on BCA council at this time Sue Wakefield was and she know everything that happened and how the insurance came up short a warning that should have been heeded when negotiating coverage for BCA members last year.
Brown then says: Most of us had not given a passing thought to the ASA before last year. We knew that adverts had to be honest, decent, verifiable and truthful but until the sceptics struck with their mass complaints did not realise that under section C1.6 of the Code of Practice our website material was also subject to the ASA guidance. By the time we did, it was too late.
I find this hard to believe, but if it is the case he did not give it a passing thought, then he is not competent to represent his members interests. Circa 2005 Margaret Coats started using the ASA to say what chiropractors could do or could not do. I find it hard to believe someone as involved in the BCA as Richard Brown is was not aware of the cases that had come to the ASA eg the two case where an Osteopath complained about the claims made by Brit Chiro (BCAs busiest chain of clinics) more than 12 months before Carl Irwins case pointed the sceptics to the ASA. As a GCC expert witness he must have known how the GCC used the ASA in fact I suspected he was one of the chiropractic “experts” advising the ASA.
The ASA is not subject to Freedom of Information so they dont have to tell me where they get their experts from. On my first or second council meeting Margaret Coats told us in her report that she had complained to the ASA about claims being made at clinics owned by Christian Farthing and Peter Olsen (both trained chiropractors who were not on the register). I asked to see the complaints Coats with a look of indignation asked why I wanted to see them. All GCC council members would have heard me explain; if people who trained as chiropractors are making claims that infringe ASA rules chances are many registered chiropractors are doing the same and if the GCC is going to dig up this hornets nest we should advise chiropractors accordingly. Needless to say nothing was done the council had more important things to do, like persuading me to apologise to Margaret Coats for all the horrible things I had written about her before getting elected to council, in case she decided to sue for constructive dismissal.
The next thing Richard Brown states is very interesting and should form the basis of the defence of any chiropractor who decides to defend his professional reputation, which the BCA/GCC would like you to leave at the mercy of the PCC in a closed hearing. A hearing where Margaret Coats might walk in and give some instruction to the panel.
Richard Brown would say dont believe a word of it, I would say ask Jeb McEveney or the people who sat on the PCC that day when they were deliberating and Coats came in with some information to help them reach their decision causing the Legal assessor to to adjourn hearing. If she did that at a private hearing where she hand picks the people sitting on the PCC no one need ever know she could exert her influence during the lunch breaks for example. Brown states;
I am aware that BCA members have relied on both GCC and BCA leaflets and reproduced information on their websites in good faith. While the news that the GCC will not be proceeding with allegations surrounding the marketing of infant colic, asthma and sciatica was welcomed by those under investigation, chiropractors did not receive advice that anything in the initial leaflet was misleading, nor were they told to destroy copies of this leaflet by the GCC (as was the case when the 2010 leaflet was launched). I have therefore made the point to the GCC that in May 2009 chiropractors would not have known it was inappropriate to continue making claims for conditions which had also appeared in previous GCC leaflets.
The GCC knew from a survey of the profession in 2004 that over half of the profession believed that they could treat or manage asthma (57%), digestive disorders (54%), infant colic (63%), menstrual pain (63%) and a range of other non-musculoskeletal conditions. This survey is available on the GCC’s own publicly available website under the heading of “Range of conditions treated or managed by chiropractors.”
If some one sends me the advice the BCA have given you in relation to how to defend yourselves, I am sure I could help. Richards words is your defence at a public hearing. I was one of the Council members thought hearings without barristers would be good for the chiropractors however the GCC did not like for reasons I will explain in another posting. Kola Akindele defended himself a few years ago and won.
The BCA supports its members like no other Association. Those who have been unfortunate enough to have been involved in Fitness to Practice hearings will testify to the huge support and assistance provided by the BCA in their hour of greatest need. Moral support counts for a huge amount at these difficult times and the BCA provides it in spades.
We have given a commitment to do everything in our power to help our members through this crisis and, as always, the BCA will be there for its chiropractors.
You can say that again the BCA supports its members like no other Association and I would love to go through the all people who have left the BCA because of incompetent support. Possibly my favourite is the chiropractor whose patient called up the BCA to know if orthodontics could cause headaches only to be told, headaches could not be caused by braces and the chiropractor concerned was not a member of the BCA and the patient should complain to the GCC. In fact he was a member of the BCA but the damage was done and the case went to the PCC and he was admonished. He left the BCA when they introduced a £10,000 excess on any future complaints made. The BCA removed the excess last year under pressure from members. They just forgot to tell them how exposed they became as they would not be covered for complaints of a sexual nature or complaints not involving patients, about 30% of complaints.
Below is the letter MIA sent to BCA members in November 2004 asking them to stay with them. The BCA complained to the FSA because they were interfering with the BCAs master plan.
Then, this is the real joke any members who wanted to leave the BCA were hit with a letter stating it would cost £546 to do so.
On the 17th of August the Chiropractic profession is meeting with the GCC. The SCA/UCA/and McTimoney are attending as an alliance, the BCA is attending as a “responsible, evidence-based health care profession”, who will work “constructively with other healthcare providers whilst maintaining our independence as a unique profession as your representative”. Presumably other health care professionals does not include the UCA/SCA/McT alliance. Brown tells members in “In Touch”
I will be ensuring that the BCA voice is heard and that all members of the GCC understand the feelings of our membership in the wake of current issues. This is a defining moment for the profession in the UK and I will be fighting to protect the BCA’s interests at all levels.
There are few who deny that statutory regulation is essential to protect the public and uphold standards of conduct and education. However, at the present time there are many who feel that the system of regulation in the UK is overbearing, disproportionate and unfair. It is essential that we find the balance to deliver effective ‘right-touch’ regulation and I am committed to representing the BCA’s position to ensure that this balance is achieved.
The BCA has a fantastic track record when it comes to supporting its members, representing its membership, and acting as an ambassador in Europe and internationally. It has been the leading national association for 85 years. When I joined the Association, 20 years ago this month, I was immensely proud to call myself a BCA member. I still am.
There is a well-worn expression, “Value will be remembered long after cost is forgotten”. Some organisations may claim a cheaper cost of membership, but in terms of all-round value, the BCA wins every time. Let us be proud of our membership, respectful of our heritage, keen to contribute and, above all, the best chiropractors we can be.
Richard Brown DC, LL.M, FCC, FBCA, FEAC
I can not believe BCA members are happy with this clown, they only need 10 of them to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the way the GCC regulates and whether they want to be led by donkeys into the NHS.
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