This interesting little ditty in Peter Dixons Newsletter to the profession proposing consensual disposal of vexatious complaints(see below). This is something I was pushing for in November 2007 when I was on council, I know for a fact Dana Greene proposed a similar system a number of times during her time as a member of council (1997-2007) as it was her who put the idea into my head after she left the council, in fact she recommended a number of council changes to council members not that Peter Dixon took any notice.
The fact is Margaret Coats was not having it. This is the system the Osteopaths have in place with an almost identical Act as chiropractors. The fact is Coats insisted on having a different legal interpretation of the chiropractic act than the Osteopaths. And if Coats and Dixon really wanted to change things they would have got the Privy Council to do it as they did when they wanted the Chiropractic Act changed to protect their income. To quote the Associations in the draft of their letter to the GCC point 44. “Within a very short space of time, this order passed through the Privy Council and the Rule amendment was complete (The General Chiropractic Council (Registration) (Amendments) Rules Order of Council 2009). What it clearly demonstrated to the profession was that when it is in its interests to do so, the GCC has the capability to change the Rules. However, at other times where the profession has sought an amendment to the Rules for the interests of the public and the profession, its requests have been turned down”.
The fact any of this was leaked to the chiropractic profession through Simon Perrys blog is completely irrelevant to the allegations being made by the Chiropractic profession against Coats, or Dixons failure to reel her in. Now we are going to have this farcical situation where people hand picked by Coats and Dixon are going to “investigate” the complaints made by the profession against Coats and the GCC. Any complaints made against the osteopathic council are dealt with by members of other councils not involved in the GCC. Guess who choose Martin Caple to conduct the investigation into the allegations of bullying by Maxine White?
The correspondence between Dixon and myself while I was a member of council shows clearly who was calling the shots, and hopefully I will find the time to publish them. Its getting easier to come up with material as we revisit all the previous GCC misdemeanours with new people involved. Before Dixon becomes righteous and tries to divert attention away from the alliance Margaret Coats formed with Alan Hennes soliciting complaints against chiropractors, to leaks to a sceptic website remember the associations points 23 and 24.
23. “Furthermore, we have evidence that the GCC pursued a policy of inviting Alan Henness to submit complaints against non-BCA members. In correspondence dated 7 December 2009, Jane Kinane (Specialist Officer, Regulation) wrote to Henness on behalf of the Investigating Committee stating inter alia that “…from the web pages provided, we have identified that there are additional chiropractors from certain clinics, other than those who you have submitted a complaint against. We would therefore be grateful if you could consider the following chiropractors below and confirm whether you wish to submit a complaint against these chiropractors.” Fifteen further chiropractors became subject to complaints as a result of this correspondence”.
24. “We are appalled that the GCC, through its statutory committee, would act in this way. We consider such conduct amounts to incitement and, in the circumstances, is reprehensible”.
Anyway this is what Peter Dixon has put in the GCC’s latest Newsletter; its only 700 complaints too late Peter.
Three years ago, with the support of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), the GCC made its case to the Department of Health to change the Chiropractors Act to give the GCC’s statutory Investigating Committee ‘consensual powers of disposal’. This means giving the Investigating Committee the power to conclude a case at the investigation stage, by agreeing ‘undertakings’ with the chiropractor or the chiropractor agreeing to accept a ‘warning’.
At present, the Investigating Committee can make no findings and can do no more than decide whether there’s a ‘case to answer’ and refer a case to the Professional Conduct Committee or Health Committee. Power to dispose of cases consensually at the investigation stage of the fitness to practise procedure would be proportionate and contribute significantly to the timely and cost-effective determination of cases.
Of course, consensual disposal would not be appropriate in all cases. For example, where there was a public interest in the examination of the charges at a public hearing and where, on the face of it, the alleged conduct or lack of competence might justify suspension or removal of a chiropractor’s registration to ensure patient safety.
Right-touch regulation and
On 27 October, the GCC Chair, Peter Dixon, attended the launch of CHRE’s report
Right-touch regulation at a breakfast event at the House of Lords. The discussion was chaired by Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee. The document is about ‘agile’, proportionate, evidenced and risk-based regulation – it was well received.
During discussion, Peter Dixon explained that for some years the GCC has been seeking legislative change to the Chiropractors Act, to provide disposal powers for the Investigating Committee and raise the threshold for referral to the Professional Conduct Committee and Health Committee.
Proposed changes to Professional Conduct Committee Rules
The GCC is seeking to amend the statutory Rules that govern the running of the Professional Conduct Committee. We want to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of proceedings to deliver swifter outcomes to the benefit of patients, the public and chiropractors. All this will be achieved while maintaining fairness and increasing transparency.
Consensual disposal – and other legislative amendments awaited
Council agreed in February 2010 to ask government to make changes to the Rules.
We have consulted the chiropractic professional organisations and patient representatives to ask if they agree to our proposals and if they don’t, to give us their reasoning.
Any amendments to the Professional Conduct Committee Rules are unlikely to come into force any earlier than Spring 2011.