The BCA has form in the way they try to deal with critics

This is an e-mail I sent to BCA members after I left the association in 2004. The told members they were seeking legal advice after my comments but did nothing.

It would appear from the agenda for this years BCA AGM that Barry Lewis (BCA president) and Tim Hutchful’s (secretary ) amendments to the BCA’s Memorandum and Articles (M&As) in 2004 were unlawful, because the amendment enabled the BCA council to kick Mark Christiansen off the executive without giving him a chance to defend himself. This is a breach of the Human Rights Act, not to mention the rights of hundreds of members who chose Mark to represent them on the executive.

The claim that all BCA members are treated equally is untrue. Of course there are many people who have been helped by the BCA, unfortunately there are also others who have not been helped, and some like myself have experienced harassment in the form of seven BCA disciplinary hearings between 2000 and 2004. Last years AGM clearly demonstrated the contempt BCA council has for some of its members. I thought Barry and Tim proposed amending the M&As to get rid of me, were I to get elected to council, I had no idea it was to get rid of Mark Christensen..

Perhaps they will claim they had been advised by Sue Wakefield who assumed last year that rules of natural justice do not apply to the BCA. For example when I threatened the BCA Council with a judicial review, I was told “the BCA was not a regulatory body, it is a private club” (e-mail January 2004). Therefore, I was not entitled to a fair hearing, or full disclosure of the evidence being presented against me and they could interpret and enforce the GCC code of practice in the manner which suited them.

I find it hard to believe that the President of the BCA, did not realise that the UK has a human rights act that protects its citizens, regardless of race colour or creed from being treated unfairly . The issue of consent to treatment (central to the patient doctor relationship) is enshrined in this act. At the AGM, I asked Barry what were the “difficulties” Council experienced that made it necessary to change the M & As (minutes AGM 2004). Barry refused to give any details of the difficulties Council were experiencing to those present at the AGM. He said it was to “protect the dignity” of the individual involved (whose rights Barry was about to trample all over 5 minutes after the AGM when they expelled Marc).

Next I asked Tim Hutchful, why the changes were necessary when the existing mechanism could be used to remove a council member not doing his job properly. Staying on message Tim stated that changes were required to enable the activities of the Council to become “more transparent”. I asked whether the implementation of the proposals might result in a members of the council ganging up on a particular individual to remove him from office. Tim Hutchful denied this emphasizing that “change was required to ensure that there was more transparency and that in the event of the M&As being invoked the membership would be informed about the detail thus making the process totally transparent”. (The Presidents message In Touch October 2004 announced the eviction of Mark Christiansen from the executive providing no further information.)

I pointed out to the Council that it would be undemocratic to kick someone off Council that BCA members had voted for, I believe it is for BCA members to decide who should be on council. However Barry felt that “membership voted in members of council to make decisions and it was not appropriate to have to defer major issues to the full membership for discussion”. I then asked why the amendment had not been discussed or minuted from previous council meetings. Barry said “anybody could make an amendment and it did not have to be discussed at council”. He added that council had been advised by e-mail that the change was being proposed and a discussion took place which meant they could “ remove a member from council at their whim, without notifying him of any allegation to be made against him, without his having any chance to reply to any allegation or to question the evidence on which it may be based, and without his being able to appeal against the decision. Such procedures are contrary to Common Law and the Human Rights Act” (AGM agenda 2005).

It could be that not all Council members were party to these discussions because I asked Tim Hutchful how information was disseminated to others on council he assured me everyone was always kept in the loop. I asked him to explain an e-mail he had received from the former BCA president George Carruthers stating that “I chose to withdraw my discussions to a handful of individuals on Council and brought in others as I deemed necessary, a president prerogative I believe” .

Tim did not elaborate on this practice of excluding elected representatives from discussions or whether it was still the practice. Barry “expressed his concern that such communication should have found its way into the possession of a BCA member” .
It should also be remembered there were at least a hundred people at the 2004 AGM. Senior members of the Chiropractic profession were there, Tony Medcalf president of the WFC, Peter Dixon was there.  Out of all those present only Steve Carpenter and myself voted against the amendment and we both resigned from the BCA soon afterwards.

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