One of the original members of the GCC, BCA member Richard Rumary resigned from the GCC on 18 June 2000. Richard was a solicitor before he trained as a chiropractor. His decision was brought to a head by the investigating committee’s decision to pursue chiropractors for advising people to stop taking NSAIDs, saying it was tantamount to “penalising dentists for telling people that eating sweets was bad for their teeth”.
According to Richard Rumary, the view of chiropractic on the GCC would appear to be out of line with the views held by the large majority of chiropractors in the UK. Seven years on GCC members seem to have learned nothing, in fact their prosecution rate has increased. Richard sent this letter to GCC members and gave me a copy. He wrote
“The underlying reason for my resignation was that I had reached the point where I no longer felt able to subscribe to the principle of “collective responsibility”.
The principle not only made me an unwilling party to many decisions taken by Council on matters relating to the regulation of the profession, but also prevented me from expressing my disagreement with those decisions outside Council.
I did not resign at an earlier stage because I accepted that it is a difficult task to set up a regulatory body from scratch, especially when that task involves uniting individuals from many different backgrounds under a lay chairman with no experience of chiropractic education, training or practice. In such circumstances, I knew that some compromises would have to be made along the way. But there is a limit to the number of times that anyone can compromise.
My main objection to the way in which Council has operated, and continues to operate, is that it is dominated by members (and staff) who have a very rigid and essentially ‘orthodox-medical’ view of the way in which chiropractors should be educated trained and allowed to practice. These members are either professional members with their own particular educational or political agenda, or lay members who either know nothing about the real nature of chiropractic or seem to have an in-built bias against it.
The result has been a determination on the part of Council not only to interpret the “grandfather” provisions of the Chiropractors Act 1994 in such a way as to obstruct and in some cases actually to prevent the conditional registration of many chiropractors or chiropractic graduates, but also, through its Education Committee, to impose a curriculum for the colleges, and propose requirements for CPD and provisional registration, which are unnecessarily onerous and inappropriate, having regard to the essential nature of chiropractic.
This determination inevitably means also that the Investigating Committee and the Professional Conduct Committee are likely to take decisions – and in the case of the Investigating Committee has already taken decisions – which are based on either a rigid, or an incomplete or a biased view of the nature of chiropractic.
My lesser objections are to the way in which Council has operated relate to its refusal to be open about mistakes which have been made; its intention to become involved in the publication of clinical guidelines despite the limited resources of both expertise and finance at its disposal; its decision to appoint only lay members to be chairmen of the statutory committees; its failure to record adequately the debate at its meetings, and its insensitivity to the profession’s perception of its expenditure.
In my view, the overall approach of the Council is unlikely to change until there is an election of the chiropractic members to replace the current chiropractic members, and with the opportunity to appoint a chiropractor in place of the current chairman.
Only when this happens will there be, in my view, any chance of Council adopting a more realistic and fair approach to the effective regulation of the profession”.
Fast forward to 2009: Hindsight is a great thing, the failure of the British Chiropractic Association to act on Richard Rummary’s warning resulted in a more polarised profession and a regulator that would go after 900 BCA chiropractors this was my Video take on the GCCs subsequent actions.
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