The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

Profit and loss: addendum

My last post ended:

In the light of this, why are so many BCA members still making such claims?

Oh dear.

The clinic at the centre of the ASA complaint was BritChiro Clinics. They have clinics in Horsham in West Sussex, Bournemouth in Dorset, Horley in Surrey and New Milton in Hampshire.

The ASA adjudication that went against them said:

We welcomed BritChiro’s decision to remove the references to arthritis and chronic pain from their ads but concluded that the reference to whiplash should also be removed.

We can only assume that they did, in fact, remove those claims from local newspaper adverts.

However, the General Chiropractic Council‘s Code of Conduct, which (just in case it hasn’t sunk in yet) is binding on all chiropractors says:

[Chiropractors] may publicise their practices or permit another person to do so consistent with the law and the guidance issued by the Advertising Standards Authority.

This includes all types of advertising, including websites.

It is therefore somewhat surprising that this particular clinic is making the same claims on their website that lost them the ASA adjudication (as well as other claims covered elsewhere by ASA guidance and adjudications).

They are claiming:

Chronic pain was the other condition they agreed to remove from their advertising. This phrase doesn’t appear on their website, but there are some pages that certainly give the impression that chronic pain is treatable. For example, one of their testimonials describes a man who had intermittent back pain for five years before they fixed his ‘subluxations’ with” very precise ‘adjustments’ of specific joints”.

Oh. And they still claim (cached) they can treat asthma, colic, breathing difficulties, ear infections, prolonged crying, sleep and feeding problems and bedwetting.

7 Responses to Profit and loss: addendum

  • Are they included in the complaints already made to the GCC? It might be that where a particular clinic was itself found against by the ASA, rather than merely being expected to follow good advertising practice as a general principle, this would be a significantly aggravating factor that the GCC would have to consider.

  • Trading standards have been significantly more effective. Out of the 164 clinics I’ve complained about, there are only 33 left making these claims. Though some include a claim to be able to ward off bird flu, treat arthritis and cure MS.

    I’m not sure why they’re doing this. Surely they are worried they’ll get a huge slap from the GCC at the end of this.

  • NOt sure about the huge slap from the GCC, Simon. The indicative sanctions if unprofessional conduct is found by the Professional Conduct Committee are:
    1) Admonishment
    2) Conditions of Practice Order
    3) Removal (from the Register)

    Removal tends to be reserved for sexual misconduct, and other gross misconduct against patients.

    Conditions of Practice orders are for cases where a chiro can take positive steps to change behaviours and or working practices.

    Admonishment is for minor infringements. The complaints made by zeno (which are in the public domain) are likely to amount to an Admonishment if proven to be unprofessional conduct.

  • Given that the GCC’s COP guidance on advertisng includes websites (specifically confirmed by GCC), it makes you wonder why, as the regulators, they’re not taking a more active role in ensuring compliance by their members.

  • BSM: Oh yes. They’re on the list.

  • Healthcare regulators are reponsive reactive organisations and a complaint has to be received in order to start any investigation.

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