Moving the goalposts (Part Three)
Not the GCC this time, but OfQuack.
Thanks to the ever-vigilant Andy Lewis at the Quackometer for spotting this one.
Well, have they?
As of today, they only have 409 quacks registered: 369 massage therapists, 38 nutritionists, and just 2 aromatherapists. 36 of these are also registered as aromatherapists. Doesn’t sound overwhelming, does it.
If they continue at this rate, by the end of the year, they will have 521 on their register.
Well, that’s still something, isn’t it?
Not really. On 10 December 2008, they announced that their target was to register 10,000 quacks by the end of 2009. Just in case they can’t do the sums, my projection will give them just 5% of this target at the end of this year.
But there’s no point in looking at that announcement to check. Although still dated 10-12-2008, a few of the words have been changed. Like the 10,000 into 4,000. Like the addition of a new target for being financially self-sustainable:
To achieve a self-sustaining financial position by the end of the financial year 2010/2011 (ie second year or operation)
But OfQuack were operating throughout most of 2008. Even taking their start as the (somewhat delayed) opening of their register on 19 February 2009, they are now claiming they might not break even until their third year of operation. How can they survive? Andy Lewis took a good look at their finances in March: Will the Government Bail Out Ofquack?. In a remarkable bit of clairvoyance, his prediction has come true (Andy, Randi’s million dollars awaits you!). After a Freedom of Information request by Andy:
it would appear that the Department of Health has agreed to give the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council a further £409,300 for the year 2009/2010 and is looking at an additional £127,750 for the following year. This money would appear to be conditional on Ofquack “making good progress against their Business Plan.”
Read Andy’s full account in his blog post Government bails out Ofquack as it rewrites old press release.
So why did they go back and alter a previous press relase, without even changing the release date? Why not just announce that they have had to revise their business plan? Were they trying to hide their failings? Did they think no one would notice? This is sounds like the BCA and their ‘plethora’ of evidence for chiropratic: they underestimated the intelligence, investigative ability and tenacity of bloggers. You’d have thought that an organisation dedicated to openness, would have done it with more integrity and, well, openness.
And there’s more.
The letter from the DoH to OfQuack that Andy obtained is interesting. As I said, OfQuack opened its register on 19 January and announced their ‘overwhelming’ response on 11 February. However, the DoH letter to OfQuack, telling them they would be subsidised for another couple of years, with over £400,000 of taxpayer’s money, (with the possibility of another £100,000) is astonishingly dated 12 February! This was just two weeks after they opened their register.
So, OfQuack must have known well before then that there were in dire financial trouble, yet delayed their Orwellian re-writing of history until now and even now, are still telling us they think they’ll have 4,000 quacks registered by the end of the year.
Andy? Can I borrow your crystal ball?