“Scientist”, Stephen Hughes has “specialist” knowledge in chiropractic care of children. It is an absolute disgrace that he has been admonished by the General Chiropractic Council.

coats on sunWhen I ran for a place on the General Chiropractic Council I was nominated by 5 chiropractors who had been the subject of vexatious complaints which had been thrown out by the GCC. I warned it could be you.

While a member of council I warned BCA president Tony Metcalfe of the problems within the GCC. Not only was Tony not interested, “honourable” man that he is he forwarded my e-mail to GCC chair Peter Dixon and I was removed for a breach of confidentiality. The fact the confidentiality was reporting the misdeeds of GCC officers was irrelevant.

As we know seven hundred chiropractors are having complaints processed by the GCC. The cases are being held behind closed doors because the GCC did not have the money for 700 public hearings. The associations left them off the hook, accepted that the GCC would have to throw the skeptics a few bones, the survival of the GCC was paramount VAT is 20%.

Nevertheless the GCC has had to re-mortgaged its offices. The CHRE is also worried because the government has withdrawn its funding, leaving them to get their funding from the other health care regulatory bodies. The GCC has laid out a plan to the CHRE to recoup the £2,000,000 cost of Zenos complaints by hiking up registration fees.

When the GCC could not take action on many of Zenos complaints, Coats and her staff (as is the norm) went through the evidence looking for other things they could charge the chiropractors with. On finding “evidence”, she contacted Zeno asking him if he would like to include other chiropractors at the practice in the complaint.

In October 2009 the GCC chief executive Margaret Coats  was alarmed to see a report on the CAM debate in the house of Commons. She e-mailed CHRE officer Gavin Lamer to make clear:

“I note the reference by David Tredinnick to complaints against chiropractors” She went on to state “This is not a matter we have ever discussed with Mr Tredinnick and the GCC has not categorised any complaints it has received as spurious”.

Here you had two skeptics having fun “moron baiting”, implying that all chiropractors were making outlandish claim about their abilities and ripping off patients with claims of cures. To make matters worse their allegations  were been aided by the very people that two years previously were responsible for promoting the profession, the GCC.

Every day chiropractic skeptics present anecdotes of the very worst of chiropractic as a representation of the entire profession. It is as if I presented GP Harold Shipman as a reason for not seeing a medical doctor.

Last year Martin Robins in his Guardian blog “The Lay Scientist” reported the Furious backlash from Simon Singh libel case puts chiropractors on ropes

“What was originally a dispute between the BCA and one science writer over free speech has become a brutally effective campaign to reform an entire industry.A staggering one in four chiropractors in Britain are now under investigation for allegedly making misleading claims in advertisements, according to figures from the General Chiropractic Council. Campaigners collectively worked their way through the BCA’s membership list, Googling each member, and cross-referencing any claims on their website against previous rulings by the advertising watchdog”.

To skeptics all this was a great laugh, to them we are merly “uneducated cult of quacks” terrified of our own shadow not worthy of any respect.Despite Margaret Coats best efforts the  majority of complaints are being thrown out, but hidden away in the first batch are some of the bones the GCC have to throw at the Skeptics. Ten chiropractors have been found guilty of Unprofessional Conduct (UPC) and admonished, there are more to come.

In ten years of regulation the Professional Conduct Committee has never set the bar so high to determine what falls short of Professional Conduct.Having looked at all the allegations it seems UPC correlates with a desire to  provide chiropractic care for children. Admonishments 1,3,4,5 and 6 all used the same website template and their offenses were all the same. I have only provided a link to the GCCs evidence, for readers to judge for themselves the “seriousness” of the offences.  What the GCC say in summing up is more or less the same in all the sanctions no doubt a template letter to save money and is on the websites in “Complaints”

  1. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegation_and_Schedule_(Dean%20R).pdf
  2. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegation_and_Schedule_(Crawford)1.pdf
  3. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegations_and_Schedule2_(Homoky).pdf
  4. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegation_and_Schedule_(Singleton).pdf
  5. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegation_and_Schedule_(Adams).pdf
  6. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Notice_of_Allegation_and_Schedule_(Wood).pdf
  7. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Rees%20-%20Notice%20of%20Allegations%20Schedule.pdf
  8. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/O’Connor%20-%20Notice%20of%20Allegations%20Schedule.pdf
  9. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Gordon%20-%20Notice%20of%20Allegations%20Schedule.pdf
  10. http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/hearing_file/Hughes%20-%20Notice%20of%20Allegations%20Schedule.pdf

I went to college with the first two two be admonished 9&10 who work in the same clinic, Claire Gordon and Stephen Hughes. Claire did the minutes for me when Tony Metcalfe as ECU president came down to AECC in 1994 to reassure students that registration would be a good thing for the profession and my concerns were unfounded.The decision was made on January 21st and although skeptics like Edzard Ernst have announced the verdicts they have not commented, when I asked exactly what these chiropractors are they guilty of and which patients did the harm. Stephen Hughes is a particularly interesting case. He graduated from AECC in 1990 the year I arrived. One thing that was apparent in the early 90s was the poor quality of paediatric training chiropractic students got.

On graduating Stephen went and got the appropriate post graduate training in paediatric chiropractor care and with a Tone Tellefsen started putting on excellent courses for the rest of us to learn from. They were the pioneers and without a doubt contributed to the improvement of the paediatric course to the level Joyce Miller has developed it to at AECC.

Below is second charge Stephen was found guilty of which presumably brought the decision up to UPC, the entire allegation can be seen in complaint 10 above. The entire Judgement can be read here

Particular 8 ;From Stephens Hughes “judgement”; In the statement highlighted in the website extract, you have claimed to be a specialist in Paediatric Chiropractic. (this is inferred from the underlined piece of the website below)


Mr Hughes submitted that the statement was purely a reference to postgraduate chiropractic training in paediatric care. He denied that the statement highlighted claimed that he was a specialist in Paediatric Chiropractic.

The GCC submitted that the wording “trained as Paediatric Chiropractors” amounted to a statement by the Respondent to being a specialist in a field of chiropractic. The Committee determined that the website statement “trained as Paediatric Chiropractors” raised the inference that there was a specialist sub-set of chiropractors with a paediatric specialism. This was particularly so in view of the words “trained as”.

The Committee noted the terms in the Code of Practice at C1.9 which states that chiropractors “… must not make claims to being a specialist or an expert in a field of chiropractic…”.

The Committee accepted the GCC’s submission that the statement amounted to a claim to being a specialist in Paediatric Chiropractic The Committee therefore found Particular 8 proved.


The Committee went on to consider whether the facts found proved in this case amount to Unacceptable Professional Conduct. In reaching this decision, the Committee took into account the advice of its Legal Assessor, together with submissions made by the Respondent and those made on behalf of the GCC.

The Committee again referred to the relevant sections of the Code of Practice at C1.6. and C1.9. The Committee considered whether the Allegation of Unacceptable Professional Conduct was well founded by reason of its findings in relation to the Particulars found proved. The Committee decided that Particulars 1 and 2 could not amount to Unacceptable Professional Conduct as they are merely factual Particulars. In relation to Particulars 6 and 8 which the Committee has also found proved, the Committee was satisfied that they amounted to Unacceptable Professional Conduct, which is conduct which falls short of the standard required of a registered chiropractor.

In reaching this decision the Committee found that there had been breaches of both C1.6 and C1.9 of the Code of Conduct. The Committee was concerned also that there had been an unjustifiable level of pressure applied to members of the public which exploited their lack of experience or knowledge about either health or chiropractic matters contrary to C1.6.Furthermore it is contrary to C1.9 for a chiropractor to assert that they are a specialist or expert in any particular field of chiropractic.


The Committee was mindful that its role is to protect patients and the wider public, to maintain public confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct. In determining the appropriate sanction, the Committee has taken into account the General Chiropractic Council’s Indicative Sanctions Guidance. It has been mindful that any sanction should be proportionate and sufficient to protect patients and the public interest. The Committee noted that the Respondent is of previous good history and took account of the mitigation provided by the Respondent.

The Committee was satisfied that the Respondent has shown some insight into his failings. It accepted that the Respondent did not intend to mislead or abuse the trust of members of the public. Also, there was no evidence that there has been any direct or indirect patient harm by reason of the content of the website. In particular, the Committee noted the Respondent’s submission that he has taken steps to reconstruct the website and ensure that it complies with ASA Guidance.

For all these reasons, the Committee was satisfied that an Admonishment is sufficient and appropriate in this case, and is the minimum necessary to maintain confidence in the profession.The Respondent should be in no doubt that any finding of Unacceptable Professional Conduct is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. The Committee would expect that the Respondent would ensure that the reconstruction of the website reflects the criticisms made by this Committee, and is in accordance with the Advertising Guidance published by the GCC in March 2010, and in future maintained in compliance with relevant applicable legislation. The Committee determined to admonish the Respondent. The Respondent must ensure that in the future when publicising his practice or permitting another person to do so, any advertising materials including websites are in accordance with the Advertising Guidance published by the GCC in March 2010, and maintained in compliance with relevant applicable legislation and guidance.

This concludes the matter.

Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee

Reading Stephen Hughes CV below I will leave it for colleagues of Stephen Hughes, rather than the clowns on the PCC or the skeptics to judge whether Stephen Hughes has “Specialist” knowledge in  chiropractic care for children and whether he is entitled to call himself an expert in this area. He may not thank me for saying this, praise from me can end careers in chiropractic but I believe him to be a  role model for UK chiropractors and the profession must stand by all chiropractors sacrificed to the skeptic cause; Moron Baiting”.


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