The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

The Long and Winding Road

It’s been a while since I blogged about the progress of my complaints to the GCC and it’s time for an update.

In fact, it’s been a full 12 months — to the day — since I submitted my complaints. How time flies.

I’m sure no one is interested in all the minutiae of this, so here’s a brief summary:

  • Hundreds of emails and letters have been received and sent;
  • I’ve had two meetings with GCC’s two firms of lawyers;
  • I’ve received 11 lever arch files of paper copies of chiropractors’ websites;
  • I’ve been sent 290 sets of chiropractors’ observations on my complaints, sometimes at the rate of 40 a day: the postie complained.

Meantime, the GCC:

  • have had to get their rules changed by the Privy Council to allow them to survive financially;
  • have had to employ six new staff (admins and paralegals) to cope with the workload;
  • have commissioned a review into the evidence for chiropractic — the Bronfort report;
  • have held lots of meetings with the Department of Health, a QC and their lawyers.

But they have barely started to even consider the first of my complaints.

So, what’s taken all this time, what are the 290 envelopes all about and when will it all be over and done with?

I’ll try to answer these questions. Please bear with me — it’s quite long, but I hope it makes interesting reading. There are many lessons to be learned about how statutory complaint processes actually work (or not).

The complaints process

The boring bit, but necessary to understand where we are and what’s still to come.

When a complaint is received, the GCC have a legal obligation to consider it fully. But after they have made sure they have the details of the complaint they pass it to the Investigating Committee (IC) who decide whether there is a case to answer. The Chiropractors Act 1994 at 20.—(9) states:

(b) take such steps as are reasonably practicable to obtain as much information as possible about the case; and

(c) consider, in the light of the information which it has been able to obtain and any observations duly made to it by the registered chiropractor concerned, whether in its opinion there is a case to answer

I’ll come to (b) later, but the IC does not make any judgement as to guilt or innocence, but they just look at the evidence. If they decide there is insufficient evidence of a breach to make a case against the chiropractor, they declare that there is no case to answer and the complaint is dismissed.

On the other hand, if they think that they have sufficient evidence with which to proceed, the complaint will be passed to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).

It is the PCC that will decide whether any of the chiropractors have broken the Code of Practice and are therefore guilty of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’. They then decide on the appropriate punishment.

Since I provided copies of the websites for the vast majority of the chiropractors I complained about, it is clear that they certainly do have sufficient evidence to proceed to the PCC.

Also, I have been working with the GCC, providing them with missed pages, either from cached or current websites. Yes, it may come as a surprise to some to find out that the GCC have been helping me make sure I hadn’t missed any bogus conditions or missed off a chiropractor at a clinic. Communication with the GCC has been polite and professional although sometimes curt and their lawyers have been very professional and courteous.

Lawyers

I met with the GCC’s lawyers twice last September. The first meeting was just to let the dog see the rabbit so to speak and to make sure I understood the complaints process and the role of the lawyers. I was already fairly familiar with the process and had a good idea of what the stages were and what to expect.

The second meeting was to help the lawyers understand the website evidence I had supplied. It had already been clear that the GCC didn’t really know how to deal with the 372.5 MB of data I had sent them in June (using the excellent DropSend service) — this was copies of the websites I had been able to capture. Some of them very simple and complete, but others were a bit more complicated and some incomplete.

I took the lawyers through a few typical websites and showed them how to access them. For some that we were unable to find the claims I had gathered for my complaint document, we looked at the chiropractor’s current website and I showed them how to use Google’s Site Search to help find claims. They were also interested in claims on pages that were not — or were no longer — linked to from the website, but which could be returned by a search engine. I also showed them some examples of where conditions were hidden in meta tags, where search engines might find them and return that page, even though the condition wasn’t shown in the visible page.

We all know that many pages were taken down in The Big Panic, but teh Internets never forget. The superb Wayback Machine at archive.org is an amazing resource, holding cached versions of 150 billion webpages, indexed by site and date. The lawyers were very intereested in this and we recovered quite a few pages from there to add to the growing bundle.

Having armed them with a few essential tools, I left them to go through and print out all pages from all the websites.

Why print them all out? Because their process couldn’t cope with electronic data. Complaints sent to the complainee had to be on paper and posted.

Anyway, once they had gathered the pages from a large number (but not all) of the websites, they sent paper copies to me. By express courier. Next day delivery by normal courier — or even Parcelforce — presumably wasn’t good enough. I suppose that may be the way many City lawyers send documents around London.

But all eleven full lever arch files were duly delivered.

I had then to go through each page to verify that everything was in order. I did find some chiropractors and some additional conditions I had missed first time round. These were duly added to the complaint by the lawyers.

It did take a while, but I got through most of them last November and December before the GCC decided that they wanted to cut out the middlemen at the start of January:

I confirm that in addition to the checks you have been carrying out on the web pages, we have also been analysing the web pages and where we have identified conditions listed on the websites that you had not identified, we have requested the chiropractors observations in relation to these conditions as well. This is because the Investigating Committee, in considering your complaints, will be required to consider the totality of the information you have provided. Section 20(9)(b) of the Chiropractors Act 1994 (“the Act”) requires the Investigating Committee to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to obtain as much information as possible about the case. The Act then requires the Investigating Committee to consider, in light of the information which it has been able to obtain and any observations made to it, whether in its opinion there is a case to answer. I can confirm that the Investigating Committee will not limit its consideration of your complaint solely to the conditions you have identified.

As we explained in our last letter, while it would have been helpful for you to check all the printed web pages that we hold in relation to each of your complaints, it is not essential to the work of the Investigating Committee for you to do so.

You will have noted from our last letter that in addition to the checks you have been carrying out on the web pages, we have also been analysing the web pages and where we have identified conditions listed on the websites that you had not identified, we have requested the chiropractor’s observations in relation to these conditions as well. The Investigating Committee will not limit its consideration of your complaint solely to the conditions you have identified. Where we have also identified further chiropractors working at the clinics, who you did not submit a complaint against, we have been asking you to confirm if you wish to submit a complaint against them. We will continue to manage your complaints in this way.

I can confirm that we will now move to formally notify all those chiropractors that we have not yet formally notified, so that the investigation process can proceed in a timely manner.

As we are now moving to formally notify all those chiropractors that we have not yet formally notified, I confirm that we no longer need to make arrangements for you to receive the remaining web pages that you have not been sent yet.

So, they were going to do the work for me. Great. As long as they are as thorough as I would be. Saves me having to clear more bookshelf space.

Once they had gathered everything, they started sending their formal notice to each chiropractor along with the printed out webpages and asked for their observations on my complaint. I had been told I would be given the opportunity to comment on those observations, but more about that shortly.

At the end of January, I started to receive envelopes that contained these observations.

Observations

Over the next six weeks I amassed 290 of these envelopes (see photo, with a well-known and well-thumbed book shown for scale).

The documents all contain much the same text and presumably come from the same source, with changes to suit individual cases. As an example, here’s one of them (with personal and other identifying details redacted). It’s interesting to read through it to see what kind of arguments were being put up to try to persuade the Investigating Committee that they had no case to answer and throw out the complaint.

All of them had references to various other published papers. One had some 268 references (bizarrely, mostly about the sciency-sounding cold laser therapy, which can treat all sorts of musculosketal conditions, don’t ya know).

Right from the start of the complaint, I was told I would be given an opportunity to comment on these observations and that my comments would be sent to the chiropractors, who would then be given time to comment further before everything was sent to the Investigating Committee. I would not see these further comments.

All well and good. I was given a generous 14 days in which to supply my comments. Apparently, usually only allow seven days is given. It was a tall order, but I responded with a 25 page document, citing 70 references. Again, it’s worth spending the time reading it to get the full measure of some of the ‘arguments’ I had to counter.

I reminded the IC of their obligations; I pointed out some of the relevant ASA guidance and how they have interpreted it; I gave some detail of the well-known hierarchy of evidence with systematic reviews and meta-analyses at the top and case reports at the bottom; I quoted the ASA’s guidance on substantiation and how they viewed situations where scientific opinion was divided. I also addressed some of the general observations made by chiropractors:

  • Some of the observations supplied by chiropractors cited the CoP’s glossary entry for Evidence-based care.
  • Some chiropractors claimed that there was far more to chiropractic than spinal manipulation. The list included massage and nutritional advice.
  • Many chiropractors claimed they were relying on the claims made in the GCC’s ill-fated Patient Information Leaflet.
  • Many chiropractors claimed that they were only self-employed chiropractors, employed by a clinic’s owner and therefore had no control over the website claims.

It took the GCC a while to pull together all the references. Yes, they collected copies of all the references I had cited. All 70 of them. I had to supply a couple of emails I had received from the ASA, but warned them they would need to redact the personal details of the ASA Investigations Executive. Most of the citations are available in PubMed, and I’m sure there would have been someone close at hand who had access to that valuable research resource! It was left to them to arrange appropriate copyright and licence clearance.

The idea seemed to be that were going to send my comments and full copies of all references to the chiropractors. As promised.

Broken promises

It was not to be, however. On 10 March, I received the following:

We previously wrote to you inviting your comments on the observations on your complaints received by the GCC from a number of respondent chiropractors.

In a document dated 11 February 2010 “Response to observations on my complaint” you set out your perspective on a range of matters, including:

  • the responsibilities of the GCC’s Investigating Committee and how those responsibilities should be discharged
  • the scope of ASA guidance
  • the responsibilities of chiropractors

You also provided a bibliography of 70 references, which has encompassed a total of 68 documents. We have printed copies of all of them, having purchased a copy of item 18, which concerns ‘Users’ guides to the medical literature’.

It seems that the only direct comments on the observations from respondent chiropractors contained in your response and the 68 documents are as follows:

  • paragraph 3 and 4, section 2.4, page 3 “I note that some chiropractors have claimed that they are self-employed chiropractors, working for a clinic owner and therefore had no control over the website. The contractual arrangements entered into by chiropractors and their clinics are irrelevant. The CoP clearly says that chiropractors are responsible for any advertising done on their behalf.”
  • paragraph 4, section 2.6.1, page 5 “I note that some chiropractic websites seem to use the same testimonials and they are therefore possibly fictitious”
  • paragraph 2, section 2.7, page 6 “In their observations, I note that chiropractors appear to have only included what appears to be positive evidence in support of their claims, frequently introducing such evidence with: There is evidence to support this approach.”
  • paragraph 2, page 7 “I note that chiropractors have only provided bibliographic references to evidence they believe should be considered by the IC.”
  • paragraphs 1 and 2, section 2.13, page 11 “I note that some chiropractors have expressed their personal views about the use of the courtesy title “Dr”. Their views are irrelevant as the question at hand is whether the use of the title meets the ASA guidance (7) and the CoP.”
  • paragraphs 1 and 5, section 4.3, page 14 “Many chiropractors have said they have relied on statements made in the GCC’s own leaflets relating to claims for chiropractic, particularly those for some childhood ailments….However, ASA guidance mandates that advertisers hold robust evidence for claims made and it would be erroneous to rely on in formation given in a patient information leaflet, whether from a statutory regulator or not.”
  • paragraphs 2, 5 and 6, section 6, pages 15 and 16 “Many of the chiropractors I complained about made claims about the requirement for on-going sessions and ‘adjustments’ couched in language such as ‘wellness’ or ‘maintenance care’….Additionally, many chiropractors’ websites seem to prey on the vulnerability and anxieties of parents, understandably concerned about the health of their babies, infants or children by trying to persuade them that chiropractic is necessary for their babies’ health….Thus, chiropractors who advocate continual repeat visits or whose websites target pregnant women and new Iparents are breaching C1.3 of the CoP and cannot be acting in the best interests of the welfare of their customers. This betrayal also puts them in breach of C1.1 and ASA guidance.”

Nevertheless, your response will be considered in full by the Investigating Committee and copies of all the bibliography documents will be available to them.

We will now proceed to provide a copy of your response and bibliography documents to the relevant respondent chiropractors, who will be given an opportunity to submit any additional observations they may wish to for the attention of the Investigating Committee. In line with our normal process, you will not receive a copy of any additional observations the chiropractors choose to make and these complaints will proceed to be considered by the Investigating Committee.

The purpose of this letter is to keep you informed of progress and the Chair of the Investigating Committee is aware of its contents.

It was good of them to try to summarise my comments wasn’t it? And at least the IC was going to consider my document and all its references, weren’t they?

However, my response was:

Although you say that the letter was intended to keep me informed of progress, I am unsure of the purpose of the majority of it.

Specifically, I do not understand why you have chosen to attempt to summarise just some of the material I included in my document, nor why you have highlighted seven short extracts and labelled them as ‘the only direct comments’.

It is essential that the Investigating Committee considers the evidence put before it in an unbiased manner. It certainly would not be appropriate for some evidence to be excluded from their purview. Nor is it appropriate for some particular evidence to be highlighted — or other evidence to be deprecated — by anyone outside of the IC. I consider any attempt to influence them in such a manner to be a very serious matter.

I note that you have made the Chair of the IC aware of the contents of the letter.

I can see nothing in the legislation that supports the Registrar or others summarising my comments or making such determinations as to what are ‘the only direct comments’ and there may well be a case for any IC member who is aware of the content or substance of your letter to now be prejudiced by these actions.

I would be grateful, therefore, if you could explain in detail why you took the actions you did.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email by return and I look forward to receiving your prompt reply.

Had I caught them breaking the rules again?

It all went quiet for a few weeks.

On 9 April, I received this:

I am writing on behalf of the Investigating Committee, to advise of you of a decision it has taken with regard to the investigation of your complaints following receipt of legal advice.

As you are aware, on receipt of an allegation the Investigating Committee is required by section 20(9) of the Chiropractors Act 1994 (“the Act”) to notify the chiropractor concerned of the allegation and to invite that chiropractor to provide observations upon it. In practice, the Committee has taken further steps beyond those required by the Act of disclosing the chiropractor’s observations to the complainant, inviting the complainant’s comments upon the chiropractor’s observations and of then disclosing any such comments to the chiropractor. The chiropractor then has the opportunity to make further observations in light of those comments.

The Investigating Committee is aware that the disclosure to you of a number of respondents’ observations, in accordance with the further non-statutory steps referred to above has resulted in the submission by you of a number of lengthy documents ‘Response to Observations on my Complaint’ that include a bibliography, the documents in which once printed make up a substantial volume (almost 500 pages).

The Investigating Committee has come to the view that the disclosure of your ‘Response’ to the chiropractors in accordance with the non-statutory practice described above would both (a) impose an unacceptable burden on the chiropractors; and (b) substantially interfere with the Investigating Committee’s management of your complaints, as chiropractors may require substantial further time to read and prepare further responses to your observations and supporting documentation. This in turn is likely to delay the Committee’s consideration of the complaints. Furthermore, the volume of material submitted with your responses places a real burden on members of the Investigating Committee in terms of the time that would be required to enable members to read the material placed before them. This is likely to delay its consideration of your complaints and has serious implications for the Committee’s ability to deal with the complaints in a timely and effective manner, which would not be in the public interest.

In these circumstances the Investigating Committee has agreed to a variation of its practice, so as to omit the further non-statutory stage of the observations process in relation to your complaints. The Investigating Committee has decided that this is an appropriate step to take to ensure that these complaints can be progressed in a reasonable and timely manner. The Committee has received legal advice that this is a course of action which is compliant with its statutory obligations under the Act and the General Chiropractic Council (Investigating Committee) Rules 2000.

The Investigating Committee advises you therefore that it will no longer continue to provide you with a copy of the respondent chiropractors’ observations and the responses you have submitted to date will not be disclosed to the relevant respondent chiropractors. Nor will the Investigating Committee take account of your responses when it considers your complaints.

So, instead of addressing what I saw as a serious and prejudicial breach of their rules, they were now refusing to even pass on my comments to the IC. I was denied the promised opportunity to counter the assertions, claims and evidence made by the chiropractors as I had been promised.

Not persuaded

I found this behaviour abominable, so I responded. The full letter is here.

I eventually got a reply on 24 May and it seems they were not persuaded by my erudite arguments:

I am writing on behalf of the Investigating Committee to advise you of its response to your letter dated 10 May 2010, which you sent in response to our letter of 9 April 2010.

As I advised you in an email dated 13 May 2010, the Deputy Chair decided that your letter should be considered by the Investigating Committee at its meeting on 17 May 2010, your letter was considered at this meeting. Having given consideration to your letter, the Investigating Committee decided that its decision, as communicated to you in our letter dated 9 April 2010, stands.

The Investigating Committee wishes you to note that its letter dated 9 April 2010 did not cite the burden of printing your response to the observations of the chiropractor, together with the associated references, as a reason for its decision. It noted rather that the letter stated that the disclosure of your ‘Response to Observations on my Complaint’ would both

“(a) impose an unacceptable burden on the chiropractors; and (b) substantially interfere with the Investigating Committee’s management of your complaints, as chiropractors may require substantial further time to read and prepare further responses to your observations and supporting documentation. This in turn is likely to delay the Committee’s consideration of the complaints. Furthermore, the volume of material submitted with your responses places a real burden on members of the Investigating Committee in terms of the time that would be required to enable members to read the material placed before them.”

Printing your response and associated references was not a factor in its decision.

The Investigating Committee did not consider that your letter raised any points that it had not given careful consideration to when making its decision and its decision remains as communicated to you on 9 April 2010.

What they have done is completely disregard what they have been telling me for the past 12 months that I would be given an opportunity to respond to the observations. Are they hiding behind the ruse of sticking to the absolute minimum of what the law says they have to do, rather than what they had promised me?

The Investigating Committee’s obligations

The General Chiropractic Council (Investigating Committee) Rules 2000 at 5(2) states:

Nothing in Rule 4 shall prejudice the power of the Committee to make such further investigations as it considers are reasonably practicable for the purposes of fulfilling its functions under section 20(9)(b) of the Act.

And the referenced 20(9)(b) of the Act (which I mentioned above) states that the IC shall:

…take such steps as are reasonably practicable to obtain as much information as possible about the case;

So even if I had not supplied the GCC with sufficient evidence, they have the duty to take all reasonable steps to obtain that evidence. Have they done so? How does that duty fit in with their refusal to consider my evidence?

Everything hinges on whether I believe their last statement above:

The Investigating Committee did not consider that your letter raised any points that it had not given careful consideration to when making its decision…

Decisions

The IC have, in fact, already started to consider some of my complaints. They have told me:

At its meeting in April, the Investigating Committee considered a number of the complaints you submitted. In the majority of cases considered, no final decision was reached by the Investigating Committee. It has requested further information in relation to some cases and until it receives this information, it is not possible for it to consider the particular cases further. Until such a time when a final decision is reached by the Investigating Committee in respect of a complaint, we cannot provide any further information to you.

I have now had the opportunity to consider the position in respect of each complaint considered by the Investigating Committee in April and confirm that it did reach a final decision in respect of a number of your complaints. I anticipate that we will have communicated these decisions to you within the next couple of weeks.

At this time, there is no further information for me to provide to you. You will be provided with further information as it becomes available.

That was on 7 April and I’m still waiting — I was subsequently promised a reply last week. I’m still waiting.

Options

I have a couple of options: I can accept that they have, in fact, taken into account the evidence I submitted (and their first IC decisions may tell me something about that), or I can seek a Judicial Review.

I have other options available to me, but I’m sure you’ll understand if I keep my powder dry for the time being.

Watch this space. This is getting interesting.

In your leaflet titled How to complain about a chiropractor, you state:

As part of our investigation we will:

a write to the chiropractor to tell them about your complaint. We must give them a copy of your complaint

(and any other relevant documents) so that they know the details. If you are worried about this, please tell

us

b send you a copy of what the chiropractor says about your complaint, so that you can comment if you

want – we will give a copy of your comments to the chiropractor

This all clearly intimates that you were giving me the opportunity to comment on the

observations made by the chiropractors and I was relying on that.

You then supplied me with some 290 sets of observations from chiropractors as you had

promised. I consequently supplied you with my comments dated: 11 February 2010, 18 March

2010, 21 March 2010, 22 March 2010, 23 March 2010, 24 March 2010, 25 March 2010, 28 March

2010, 29 March 2010, and 02 April 2010. You acknowledged receipt of each of these a few days

after I sent them.

I am therefore surprised that you have now rejected the comments you have told me I could

make and I consider the reasons you give as spurious, discriminatory and contrary to natural

justice.

Your explanation of these decisions appears to rest on a number of points:

1) Printing of my response and references is burdensome.

2) You believe that disclosure of my response to chiropractors would:

a) ‘impose an unacceptable burden on the chiropractors’

b) ‘substantially interfere with the Investigating Committee’s management of [my]

complaints, as chiropractors may require substantial further time to read and prepare

further responses…’

c) That this is ‘likely to delay the Committee’s consideration of the complaints’.

3) That the volume of material would take IC members a long time to read.

4) That point 3) is likely to delay consideration of my complaints and has serious implications

for the committee’s ability to deal with complaints in a timely and effective manner and is

therefore not in the public interest.

I will deal with each of these points in turn.

1) The volume of the documentation supplied in evidence is irrelevant. However, if this is seen

as a problem, then I can suggest several solutions to distributing my responses to the

chiropractors concerned, including emailing the documents to the recipients or placing the

documents on the GCC’s website (hidden from public view if necessary) with a link sent to

the chiropractors.

Of course, there is no particular reason why you need to print out or otherwise supply copies

of all the references to the chiropractors. In the observations you have supplied me, the

chiropractors cited a large number of references in support of their position and I note that

you did not supply me copies of those references.

In one case, a chiropractor cited some 268 references and I note that you did not supply me

with the full text of any one of them.

You are treating me differently to the complainees and your actions are therefore

discriminatory.

52 Responses to The Long and Winding Road

  • Amazing story!

    Thanks very much.

    Every regulatory body needs someone like you to keep them on their toes.

  • Great story, just one question – who shall we get to play you in the Brokovich-style movie…?!

    :-) seriously, good work – keep up the heroic effort!!

  • Judicial Review Judicial Review Judicial Review Judicial Review!

  • Excellent as per usual, thanks Alan.

  • Fascinating information, Zeno. It makes me wonder if part of the problem is that the GCC is having difficulty in letting go of the 7-year-long statutory duty it previously enjoyed, namely that of “promoting the profession”. That power was removed from it in July 2008, leaving it with two main duties – protecting patients and setting standards:

    Quote
    “With effect from July 2008, our duty to promote the profession has been removed. This implements one of the recommendations of the White Paper ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety – The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century’, that health regulators should have a more consistent statutory purpose – that of protecting the public by setting and maintaining professional standards.”

    See Chairman’s Foreword here:
    http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/page_file/ANNUAL_REPORT_2007_FINAL.pdf

    If the GCC were to execute those two duties diligently, it’s likely that the it would be reduced to regulating *very* expensive massage therapists and little else.

  • Zeno – I seriously don’t know how you manage this.

    Were Edmund Burke around, he might just say, “All that is needed for chiropractic to prosper is for people of science to do nothing” – in the meantime I’ve tinkered with his qoute to say it for him!

  • “I note that you sent me observations from 290 chiropractors over a period of seven weeks and inviting my response with deadlines of just 14 days of posting … it is therefore not unreasonable to expect a individual chiropractor to be able to formulate any further observations they may have within, say, 14 days”

    This gem from your correspondence had me laughing out loud. It’s also clear that you’re not joking about that “sceptical activist” title. Your ability to rebuff the GCC’s attempts to get you to just go away is inspiring. Keep it up : )

  • Heroic work Zeno.
    After 10 months delay, the Investigating comittee considers it would take too long/slow things down too much to look at your letter and references – how pathetic of them, especially since after two more months they haven’t communicated their decisions made in April.

    One thing they also did in response to your complaints was change the standard for the Investigating Committee from “a case to answer” to a reasonable prospect of being upheld. That was in the privy council order that they described as minor administrative. It is not clear to me which standard the Investigating Committee will be applying for your complaints.

  • @zeno,
    I hope you are proud and found your foires into administrative life pleasureable. What seems really interesting in your address is that you are playing games with a regulatory body which is trying to manage complaints from people who have been or feel that they have been genuinly aggrieved by chiropractors. By playing this legalistic game you might feel very clever, but it is a brand of clever that has (after the initial value) very little merit in my view. That said i do thank you for the work you and Simon Perry have done in making chiropractors in the UK aware and conscious of the implications of the stated claims. Funny thing is that this is the very reason why chiropractors historically and philosophically never used to “treat symptoms or conditions” but rather sought to remove the root cause of it (the dreaded “subluxation”). Bearing in mind that this is a conceptual issue, and not a clinical entity, you may now slowly come to realise why the obituaries were quite premature indeed.
    What games you play with the GCC is up to you, but please don’t feel too much like you’re doing it for the greater good. That bit (satisfying the greater good) has been done, anything coming after this seems to me to be nothing more than intellectual masturbation. But then that seems to be the source of pleasure around here…
    Kind regards,
    Stefaan Vossen
    This is only the beginning

  • @Stefaan

    You say that, because of my complaints, chiros are now ‘aware and conscious of the implications of the stated claims’. I’m sure many of them have always been well aware of what they were claiming. But do you really think there are now no chiros making claims for, say, colic?

    This is no game, Stefaan.

    @Andrew Gilbey

    Love the quote! ‘People of science’ are fed up with the public being conned by pseudoscience and are doing something about it. This is only the beginning.

  • @zeno
    says “I’m sure many of them have always been well aware of what they were claiming”.
    really zeno? How come you are so sure? What was your data analysis and rigourous investigation on that?
    I think you did nothing more than “assume”. And assumption is the mother of all …
    I cannot speak for all doctors of chiropractic internationally zeno, but I can say that most in the UK have got more sense than you claim. But that of course would not suit your “saviour complex” would it?
    “‘People of science’ are fed up with the public being conned by pseudoscience and are doing something about it.” You are no people of science, and you are no heroes. Sorry to shatter your self-image. you stated something everyone already knew and no-one had the balls to take on the duty of telling teh profession to get their act together. You did what the BCA or GCC couldn’t. That’s all. Here’s your medal

    Stefaan VOssen
    This is only the beginning

  • @Steffan

    I’d have hoped it was obvious that was my opinion — just like your assumption about the level of sense of UK chiros…

    Anyway, thanks for your opinion of my status; but I’ll say no thanks to your medal.

  • @zeno
    the difference between how you and I deal with our assumptions is really what is the key here… Not dissimilar to @Andrew Gilbey really.
    The other thing is that you’re being quite disingenuous towards chiropractors. You know they are quite well trained in the UK don’t you? Maybe from that observation it is really only fair to assume that most chiropractors have sense. Don’t you think? Yes some don’t… show me a profession without idiots and a-holes … I do understand why you did it and I thank you for that, genuinly. But I also think there been enough rectal smoke blown around now and that IF you are willing and able to make further valuable constructive contributions, you might want to start looking at how you’ll do this rather than spin out this tale of woe (or woo if you like)
    Stefaan Vossen

  • Yes, chiros are trained and possibly even quite well trained — in chiro. But that in itself says very little and I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to make any assumptions about any the level of sense that might imply.

    But I think you missed my earlier point. The work is far from over — as I pointed out, many chiros are still making claims about colic, despite everything that’s happened over the last year. Why is that, do you think?

  • @zeno
    one thing is for sure (and I will give you a more complete answer to your question later) If you need help to stop chiropractors to make silly claims, I will gladly help you.
    Kind regards,
    Stefaan

  • Zeno,

    Well done!

    An extraordinary effort and it’s clearly not done yet, perhaps by a long way.

    That this “profession” has been exposed as being unprepared to adequately regulate itself over even the smallest and ludicrous detail (the misuse of the title Doctor for example) and is depending on members of the public (well one or two:) to provoke investigations into such dubious practises is surely all that anyone needs to know about the practise and practitioners of the mysterious and wooful chiropractic?

    While I say the misuse of titles in a way designed to cause deception is as a small thing, it is only a small thing in that it is trivial to police and enforce. It is not a small thing AT ALL for a customer to be conned into believing that some dodgy merchant of hand waving woo – prepared to apply treatments for which there is not a jot of evidence – is in fact a Registered Medical Practitioner.

  • @ James Jones

    I’ll take it you haven’t ever consulted a chiropractor then? If you had, you would appreciate that they, especially those trained at the AECC or WIOC, are highly qualified specilaists in the management of neuromusculoskeletal disorders.

    Althoug I do not use the title Doctor in my practice, I have earned the right to and would defend it. Interestingly, it is my medical colleagues who most often call me “Dr” and they do so because they respect me.

  • Zeno – I am still in awe of how efficiently and professionally you have done all this. Keep up the good work

  • @James Jones
    Ah that old Colquhoun/A.Gilbey chestnut! I don’t think (and I must say nor did your sources, so I guess you’re forgiven- although tuttut-not so skeptical after all) you actually know what you’re talking about. At leats in the UK. Chiropractors are doctors (…gasp-suspense….) like medical doctors are doctors of medicine, chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic. You can debate what you want about whether you feel this is right or wrong, but that, in the face of your lack of knowledge about the profession, is really quite clear for what it is: an ill-informed opinion.
    Regards
    Stefaan Vossen

  • Christ, well done; it seems insane that so much effort is required of you when it should be the regulator that sorts it out (if they could be trusted to do so).

  • @ Eleanor

    I’m not sure even Zeno feels he deserves to be elevated to the status of Christ, but we’ll let that pass for now.

    As for the regulator sorting things out, I have no doubt that they can be trusted to do so. Zeno has pointed out that the GCC voluntarily extended the scope of his complaints and I believe he would have to concede that they have followed the rules in considering each of them so far. The fact that they have decided to simplify the process to that which is necessary, rather than going above and beyond their duty and bending over backwards to accommodate him, is merely a matter of practicality.

    As we know, the GCC is statutorily obliged to consider each complaint it receives and it is plain that they are doing so. Can anyone (Zeno?) cite a complaint that the GCC has dealt with that was unreasonably decided in the chiropracttor’s favour?

  • @David

    The problem many have with the GCC is that they do not appear to have being doing that much to protect the public. Oh, they have certainly progressed a few complaints made over the years (and some very serious ones), but they have obviously utterly failed to grasp the nettles of subluxations, evidence and claims. It has taken a few of us to make them do that. We poked with a stick and look at what a hornets nest we stirred up.

    If any chiros have been wanting the GCC to sort this all out in the past, they’ve been very quiet about it and had little or no effect. Instead, we find factions (sects?) within chiropractic that seem to more intent on arguing with each other and protecting their own turf than wanting to protect the public from bogus claims.

    I don’t have to concede anything about the GCC following the rules – it’s their statutory duty to do so and what the public should expect of any regulator. All that is plain is that they are considering each complaint; whether that are doing it properly is a moot point.

  • @ David.

    David- as it happens, I have consulted a chiropractor, whom I found highly professional. I have defended, on the JREF forum, the argument that chiro can be effective for certain musculoskeletal conditions clearly related to movement of the spine. My conclusion is clearly anecdotal, but it remains my conclusion. Whether chiro is more or less effective than exercise and / or physiotherapy in such cases is a matter for the experts.

    I hold that in cases where manipulation is a valid treatment (assuming such to exist, as I do), then an experienced chiro is probably the man to see, simply because he has that experience and few others do.

    However, this is not what Zeno or anyone else has been criticising. There is a gulf of reality between the claim that manipulation may increase range of motion of a cervical joint in an adult and the claim that it can safely treat infant colic. It is hard for people like Zeno or myself, despite al I say above, to understand how any rational person could believe such a claim.

    It is not to be supposed that chiros as a class are less rational than we are. So why do they accept this? Is it possible we are seeing confirmation bias across a group which simply lacks an objective mechanism for deciding what does not work?

    A problem for the honest chiro-and I don’t doubt most are – is that his patients are self-selected. Those who think they are helped, come back- and in doing so, give the chiro a stream of positive feedback. Patients who find the treatment ineffective are likely to just not come back. Does the chiro assess this as success or failure? In the absence of an objective data collection process, how can he know?
    It seems to me that anyone in that situation is likely, over the long term, to feel he is doing a better job than is actually the case, because he is unable to incoporate negative data in his picture. The result , over the industry as a whole, could be a self-reinforcing complacency.

    (I have seen similar self-reinforcement via anecdote among paranormal researchers studying post mortem survival. These are neither stupid nor dishonest people, but their standard of evidence has slipped subtly nd repeatedly till they accept any story supporting their view , while ignoring all others. Don’t get me started on superstring theorists).

    Perhaps I’m naive, but I truly doubt most people who advertise the ability to cure colic do so believing it to be false. They really think they can help.
    In self-limiting conditions in infants, it would seem probable that with the most honest outlook possible, success will be over-reported and failure under-reported.
    Given the potential harm spinal manipulation could do to small children, this has to be accurately and objectively measured. Honest good intent is not enough.

    The chiropractic profession could have done this, but did not. Now it has been rudely forced to get off it’s collective rear and move. I would hope people like yourself would be keen to lead that push for objectivity.

  • @ Alastair Macrae

    Thank you for your considered comments and I’m pleased that you found your chiropractic experience positive; thankfully well over 90% of our patients do.

    I can only speak for myself and the way in which I was trained and have practiced over the last 25 years. Personally, my practice revolves around treating biomechanical disorders especially, but not exclusively, those that are spinal in origin.

    I do not treat babies because it is a specialist area and I have not done the extensive post-graduate training that many of my colleagues have. I don’t know what your particular problem involved or what sort of treatment you underwent, but please don’t think that the techniques used with babies are the same as those used with adults. They are not, and I can assure you that the paediatric techniques are perfectly safe. I am not aware of any case of a chiropractor having harmed a baby.

    Also, please don’t think that chiropractic is about only manipulation. Chiropractic involves a great deal more than manipulation, let alone manipulation of only the spine.

    I’m not going to get into a debate on the exact mechanisms for how chiropractic “adjustments” work on “subluxations” because it will end up in many hours of argument and counter-argument that I don’t have the time for. What I will say is that when you manipulate a cervical joint to increase its range of movement, that isn’t a purely mechanical effect. The joint is controlled by the muscles that attach into it and those muscles are in turn controlled by the nerves that supply them. ANYTHING that changes the way the joint is working is having an effect on the motor nerves supplying the muscles associated with the joint.

    It is this alteration of the feedback in to the central nervous system that brings about the changes in function, which is not limited to the skeletal muscles. It is by this mechanism that non-mechanical effects of manipulation arise. Incidentally, alteration of this afferent feedback can be brought about by many means, not just manipulation, but the spine is a rich source of nerve afferents and manipulation is a powerful tool for affecting them.

    Now, I’m not going to defend the claims of effectiveness for the treatment of infantile colic which is a self-limiting, albeit distressing problem. Also, I never make claims for the effectiveness of treatment for non-mechanical problems. However, we very often see big improvements in the health of our patients, beyond the simple mechanical problems they come in with. The trouble is, that these effects are unpredictable and varied, and therefore hard to study. There will be many shouts of “placebo”, but experience suggests that there’s more to it than that.

    You make the point that chiropractors might be subjecting themselves to flattery by paying attention only to those patients who report improvement. In my practice, and I know of many others who do the same, we periodically use tools to measure outcome, and all patients are included. We use pain and disability questionnaires and encourage feedback. We also deliberately follow up patients who we lose contact with, firsty to ensure that they are being properly cared for, but aslo because it is important that we learn from negative experiences.

    I’m plesaed to report that the feedback has always been very postitive, but wwe are still commited to constant improvement of the service we provide.

  • @David

    You say that, “Althoug I do not use the title Doctor in my practice, I have earned the right to and would defend it.”

    Why do you think you have earned the right to call yourself a doctor in a health care setting? IS it because you have sat through 4000hrs+ of classes learning about how you can treat colic by removing subluxations, how vaccinations may be dangerous, how to use tools such as activators, how infertility and asthma and so on may improve with use of chiropracty, and how case-studies provide useful evidence? I’m seriously not convinced!

    You also add that, “Interestingly, it is my medical colleagues who most often call me “Dr” and they do so because they respect me.”

    Am I the only one to suspect the answer could in part be due to sarcasm! Many of the doctors I have known excel at sarcasm. In New Zealand, most medical doctors are enraged by the use of the title Dr by chiropractors (That’s from the Royal Commissions’ report on Chiropractic, by the way). Perhaps you should watch a few episodes of Two and a Half Men, to see how much respect the hapless chiropractor Alan Harper gets from, err, everyone. Quite often it revolves around whether or not he is a doctor.

    One scene, where Harper had taken his brother to the hospital, was along these lines:

    Harper, to GP: “I think my brother has damaged some nerves in his back”

    GP “Oh, you’re a doctor?”

    Harper “Yes – I’m a chiropractor”

    GP “So you’re not a doctor”, at which point Harper was ignored totally

  • @ Andrew Gilbey

    Well, there’s obviously not much point in trying to improve your opinion of chiropractors; you’ve quite evidently taken a stance and are enjoying joining in with the currently trendy sport of chiro-bashing.

    But, just in case anyone else is tempted to be persuaded by your rhetoric, my right to use the title “Dr” comes from the fact that I am a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of biomechanical disorders. However, as I have stated, I don’t use the title in my practice. The medics who refer their patients to me address their letters “Dear Dr, can you please help this patient with……….” The grateful patient never seems to notice any sarcasm.

    In case you haven’t been paying attention, I shall reiterate that my training never mentioned “subluxations”. The four years I spent learning my knowledge and skills prior to graduation, and the 20+ years of post=graduate education since, have been centred on what we do best: the diagnosis and management of neuromusculoskeletal disorders.

    Perhaps you should spend a little less time watching American TV comedies and a little more time informing yourself adequately before attacking people you apparently know nothing about.

  • @ David

    Whether you are a more enlightened back cracker or not, you are still skirting around the issue that these unscientific beliefs are not being propagated by a tiny minority which have evaded detection. The whole profession including one of the main professional associations were all making outlandish claims and taking money for treatments which at the least did not work and which had potentially harmful outcomes. The GCC may now be following their legal responsibilities, but their inability to regulate has simply been highlighted by this procedure. Indeed without the BCA’s ill advised libel action can you offer any evidence that the GCC would have done anything to prevent this occuring without external pressure?

    The Honorific of Dr. can indeed be earned by many routes (including mail order from the states) but the label of Quack has to be earned!

  • @andrew gilbey
    Now I know where you found your information for your “research”! Would be nice of you to respond to that all important question I have asked you numerous times by now… maybe you haven’t really got any credibility behind it? Maybe it is “just” your opinion? You are entitled to your opinion by all means, but don’t make out you have anything more than that in your chiro-bashing endeavours.
    ps I saw that episode too… I thought it was hilarious… let’s face it anyone saying “has some nerves trapped or damaged in his back” really should be shot down… have a little word with teh GP’s for me would you?
    @David
    it is astonishing how some people seem to require strict compartimentalisation to cope with the realities of life. I love it when patients ask me whether I “do bones and joint like physios or muscles, nerves and stuff?” Within 2 minutes of asking that question they will understand more about biomechanical reality than some people here:
    brain tells though nerve to tell muscle to move bone via joint and knows how to move bone by means of mapping information of what is where through sensors in muscle, joint, bone and tendons and stuff… innit, like. Word
    Stefaan Vossen
    This is only the beginning (copying and flattery and all that)

  • @ symball

    I’m not skirting around anything. It is not true that the “whole profession [is] making outlandish claims and taking money for treatments which at the least did not work and which had potentially harmful outcomes.” You are wrong, as I suspect you well know, on every count.

    It is certainly not the whole profession who make outlandish claims. When it comes to taking money, do remember that although most chiropractors work in the private sector, everyone in healthcare gets paid for what they do.

    Chiropractic has been shown to be best practice for the types of problems that the massive majority of patients consult chiropractors. That is musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those relating to the spine.

    The GCC has always followed its legal responsibilty. I don’t hear any complaints about the Code of Practice or the Standards of Proficiency that they have published. The problem has been whether these are being adhered to by practitioners. The GCC sets the standards but it’s for the individual to stick to them. The GCC’s responsibility is then to investigate any complaint it receives and there is no evidence that it hasn’t or isn’t doing exactly that.

    By the way, when you say “back cracker”, am I to undestand that you mean chiropractor, in the same way that you might call a GP a “drug-pusher”, or a surgeon a “butcher”?

  • @ Andy Gilbey
    Don;t forget to answer the question about the definition of doctor. I’m waiting

  • @Robin, I have been asking him this question for two weeks. Don’t hold your breath… this brand of skepticism of his is one that likes to promote prejudice with so-called “research” and absolutely nothing to show for it…
    Stefaan

  • @Robin & @Stefaan

    I’m sure you both know exactly my feelings regarding who is a doctor. It revolves around the practice of medicine (not alternative, for obvious reasons) and conventional doctoral degrees.

    Stefaan – I asked you a question a while ago. Why not call yourself chiropractor rather than doctor? I recollect a doctor being pursed by the GCC for calling himself a chirorpactor (tongue-in-cheek, I assume), can you not understand how much it irks doctors when chiropractors call themselves doctors?

  • @Andrew Gilbey
    You made claims backed up with claims of authority by means of research in regards to chiropractors calling themselves doctor in order to falsly claim medical status. I called you up on these claims for some time now and you are still not backing them up. I am left to assume that you falsly represented what is mere opinion. I hope you understand I become slightly dispondent to people like you.
    Particularly if it is opinion further perpetuated by people who are unquestioningly accepting this misguided authority.
    You are entitled to your opinion, like I said to you before, but have the common courtousy to make clear it is opinion and not “research”.
    It may irk some doctors of medicine that I can call myself (ligitimately, in the UK) doctor of chiropractic. Maybe you should take some responsability; the “irking” may very well be induced by people implying that we do so in order to falsly claim “medical status”. Fact is that the Gp’s and consultants who refer to my practice do so to help their patients when they cannot and they respect me for being able to do so. You seem to miss a very important point: they wouldn’t refer their patients if they felt I had no authority or ability and they wouldn’t refer if they received feedback that their patients’ privately spent money was ill-spent.
    I don’t claim medical status, and as far as I am aware no other chiropractor has any interest in doing so. i am however entitled to the use of the title ligitimately (and in the true sense of the title as opposed to your opinion), whether you like it or not. you on the other hand have made claims to the contrary claiming authority to do so, seemingly without any substantiation.
    Stefaan Vossen
    Doctor of Chiropractic
    This is only the beginning

  • @Stefaan

    It’s difficult for research carried out by humans on humans to be entirely value free.

    Anyway, if I remember correctly, the research we’re talking about stated that “if CAM practitioners advertise their services in a style that could imply that they are registered medical practitioners”. I think that when a chiropractor does not have a DC qualification and calls themselves Dr without any mention that they are a chiropractor then this could imply they are a medical practitioner. The 1979 NZ Royal commission into Chiropractic also reached essentially the same conclusion. And don’t the UK trading standards also hold this view? My research showed that a great many chiropractors use the title doctor with no mention that they are actually a chiropractor. A later study showed use of the title Dr probably affects how chiropractors are perceived by potential clients. I hope that begins to answer your question?

    In the meantime, a few questions for you: i) You said you use the title of Dr, “…in the true sense of the title…”. So how do you see the true sense of the title? ii) Do chiropractors offer anything that is evidence based (let’s forget case studies and studies lacking control conditions) that is not offered by a mainstream health practitioner? iii) Where do you see the chiropractic industry 50 years from now? and iv) if we surveyed all medical practitioners in the UK and asked them if they thought chiropractors should call themselves doctors in a health care setting, what do you think would be the answer? (Maybe I’ll do this!)

    I have a feeling (I co-wrote it with Shaun Holt) that research shows doctors (GPs) prescribe placebos. Now I guess that’s no real surprise. However, “The most common reasons for administering or prescribing placebo were after unjustified demands for medication, for non-specific complaints, and after all clinically indicated treatment possibilities were exhausted.” So, a final question for you is, “Do you think they may essentially be doing this when they refer patients to you?”

  • I went to register with a new dentist today. On her door, it said Dr Otilia. I didnt for a minute think she was a Dr, because I am sensible enough to realise I’ve registered at a dentistry practice.

  • @Sarah

    I doubt many people would confuse their dentist with a GP. However, some chirorpactors seem to have very inflated opionions regarding the scope and effectiveness of their trade. When they use the title doctor I seriously think some of their customers will assume they are qualified in ways they are not.

  • @Zeno, you said:

    ‘Yes, chiros are trained and possibly even quite well trained — in chiro. But that in itself says very little and I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to make any assumptions about any the level of sense that might imply.’

    Chiropractors/Doctors of Chiropractic in the UK (I can only speak for AECC and WIOC) undergo, as far as I am aware, a far more stringent undergraduate education than physiotherapists in both time, content and depth of content and in some medical subjects such as, biomechanics, functional orthopaedics, radiology or neurology, may even surpass the undergraduate education of some medical practitioners.

    A large part of their education centres around the standard (standard= used by everyone) health sciences with a depth not dissimilar to that taught to undergraduate medical doctors. This will include Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Physiology, Neurology, Embryology,Neuroembryology,Neourphysiology, Histology, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Dermatology, Pathology, General Diagnosis, Psychology, Radiology, Radiography, Orthopeadics, Biomechanics, Exercise and Functional Rehabilitation, Biophysics and Biochemistry, to name the subjects that instantly spring to mind. All tought by qualified professionals, holding, wait for it, real qualifications in their chosen field such as Science, Medicine, Chiropractic. Whether you want to believe it or not, Chiropractic education in the UK (Wioc and Aecc) are science based and of with high standards. But thats life eh1

    So, none of these subjects are ‘Chiropractic’ in the sense that they are purely for the use of Chiropractor as this would exclude other health professionals having access to this important information, and this include medics, and that would be, how shall we say, totally absurd. But hey you guys are used to that.

    So to say ‘chiros are well trained in chiro’ brings your level of intellect, understanding, education or information on the subject, seriously into question. But I believe that you are an IT guy, with no formal medical/health care education, which may offer an explanation to your lack of knowledge and serious ignorance on this your chosen subject to denegrate.

    It is therefore surely obvious, even to you, that chiropractors require this level of information/education in order to diagnose within the field of functional/biomechanical medicine (to use terms that I hope you will understand) in order to
    a) offer the best care for the patient and
    b) rule out contraindications for care that may require further intervention such as a neurosurgical referral once again with the patients best interest at heart.

    In the latter part of their training, utilising the health sciences as a base, and while lerning the chiropractic skills they will require in practice, further study in radiology, neurology, functional biomechanics and rehabilitation is given. On top of this will be the standard dissertation covering a wide range of related subjects such as whiplash, cervical disc funtion, geriatric care etc….as one would expect of a science based profession. Currently, graduates from AECC and WIOC, which are both internationally accredited, offer masters level awards on graduation.

    Most UK Chiropractic graduates would be able to stand their own ground educationally or within their understanding of functional biomechanical medicine (which is what todays chiropractic basically is for a large percentage of us)with most medical practitioners. We would, based on our not dissimiler undergraduate educational base, be having a discussion using the same language, not ‘the chiropractic subluxation, as you would like your readers to believe.

    This would suggest that the chiropractic profession, is in fact a profession in its own right at the very least equal to dentisrty in its training process. I concur that we are young in our ability to function within a regulatory system, although we are getting there fast. We are, based on patient satisfaction, current research (and whether you like it or not, Bronfort is now being accepted by ‘the unbiased’ as a reasonably robust study) and education, has a place in the future health care of this country. We are also classed as being primary contact health care professionals, which based on your understanding of your chosen subject matter, means patients can come to us directly, and do.

    Sorry mate, we arent going away anywhere soon, so plenty time for your tantrums and hair pulling. Go on zeno have a rant!

    @Andrew Gilby

    You suggest that we have no right to the title Dr, based on your assumption that only PhD’s or Medical Doctors can use the title, you then go on to say it is ok for Dentists, who have neither? Sometimes life was easier as all the clowns were in the circus when I were a lad, and not found on forums offering a serious debate…so you are ok here.

    Sadly, you also fail to appreciate that most medical doctors have nothing more than a double bathelors degree and the title is cursory but historical, as is the Doctor of Chiropractic. This is in no way decrying the right of a medic to the title, it is by way of offering the facts. I could go further into the history of both titles, but I am not sure you have the time, nor I the inclination.

    You mention confusion by patients, I have never had a patient come to me asking for treatment relating to anything other than pain. My education allows my to disseminate the information and deduce, based on my histroy and exam, whether or not they have pain of a biomechanical nature that may be helped by chiropractic or whether they require to be seen by another health care professional for further investigation. I feel that is what a health care professional does, obviosly you dont, but hey one of us is wrong it is just as well being you?

    On my wall, I have certicate which says Doctor of Chiropractic, not Doctor of Medicine, I also have my BSc and post-grad MSc certificates (that means they are science degrees)amongst a few others, including some others. Do I have the right to use the title, I believe so, do I need your permission to do so, not in the least. But I do care that the level of understanding of what I do is deliberately misquoted, misunderstood and to quote one of this sites previous posters, verging on the danger of being seen as bigotted by this site, but hey thats why its not taken very seriouslt by either skeptics or health care professionals such as Chiropractors.

    As a final thought, I understand from R Lanagans’s website, that President Obama has offered his full support for our profession, kinda puts the nonsense posted on this site into a real perspective.

    Sad really.

  • K said:

    “As a final thought, I understand from R Lanagans’s website, that President Obama has offered his full support for our profession, kinda puts the nonsense posted on this site into a real perspective.”

    And Obama is qualified to make a judgement on chiropractic because…?

    I’m surprised you were wound up enough to give the “nonsense” posted on this site so much time out of your day, K. ;-)

  • @K

    President Obama may well think this. However, if you follow the American Sitcom “Two and HAlf Men”, I think you’ll see that the title of doctor is not taken very seriously by many Americans. Quite simply by suing this title you are trying to bask in the reflected status of the title of doctor as it is generally understood.

    Here’s my definition of an oxymoron for you: Chiropractic science degree.

  • @Andrew Gilbey and @Skepticat
    I have the distinct feeling that Alzheimers and skepticism are very compatible… same discussions, same salient points being ignored and the same distinctively bigoted replies (two and a half men,… really?)
    It really is only just beginning
    Stefaan Vossen

  • @stefaan

    A correlation between Alzheimer’s and skepticism? Sounds like one for “Medical Hypotheses”. Obviously I’m sorry to read that you have it, however, on a positive note, I’m sure it’s treatable by chiropractic (e.g., a quick jab on vertebrae number 16 should do the trick , twice a week for the rest of your life, obviously – sign here, here and here. Or was it number 18? )

    Can you clarify one thing for me, Stefaan? Do you see chiropractic as falling under the general heading of CAM?

  • @Stefaan

    In all seriousness, why bother with these people? They are simply unwilling to listen to any reason and their deep seated hatred for our profession is pretty obvious. Should we become as obtuse as they are, well one may argue that it would not affect the outcome nor change their minds on any level, so why not. I choose however to post and leave them to their party hats and silly games but to quote another poster who nseems to have been banned, to enjoy their back slapping moments.

    So this will be my last post I think but it is my understanding, and I genuinely aplogise if the information I give here is not accurate as I would hate to be tarred with the same brush as Zeno’s friends but;

    Zeno (AKA Mr Henness) has a Higher National Diploma in Computer Studies and runs a computer repair shop.

    Skepticat (AKA Mrs Henness) has no formal university education but does occasionally dress up in a Burkha and is a middle class housewife.

    Andrew Gilbey is a Floor Manager for a well known supermarket chain, having worked his way up from the shop floor. (well done Alan)

    Please note that this isn’t criticising either housewives, the wearing of the burkha, non univerity qualifications or in fact those who strive to achieve but it would seem that none of these people and in fact, many ‘Skeptic’ posters on this site have any formal health care education, with the possibility that many may have no formal university research training either and not to doctorate or masters level? Some in fact, if my assumptions are accurate, are simply friends of the Henness’s just brought in to make up the numbers (if any of these statements are in fact incorrect and inaccurate, and I am sure they will happily put us right, then I would be more than happy to be proved wrong and apologise)

    If my assumptions are correct, and based on their total unwillingness to accept anything positive about our profession, and all groups have both positive and negative attributes, which may lead to a debate rather than this childish name calling, then why are we even posting here. A cretin is a cretin, hatred is hatred and of course bigotry is bigotry, whatever the avatar or whatever the title they go under, skeptic or otherwise.

    Reading past posts both here and on Mrs Henness’s blog, they have stopped people posting who disagree with them, skeptic or otherwise, in order to keep their blog ‘clean’. All pretty sinister stuff I think.

    That is my tuppence worth, but Mrs Henness’s rather silly response with regards President Obama says it all. You either agree with these people or you are wrong. This is irrelevent of whether you are President of one of the most powerful nations on earth with access to a multitude of well informed and well educated advisors or not. Wow, how arrogent are they, but then of course they do have a direct line to Professor Ernst who, if they are to be believed is always right, so maybe they see that as balancing it out, or not as the case may be.

    Sadly history is full of the arrogent and ignorent but happily they are usually seen by the vast majority for what they are and ignored, I believe we must do the same.

    The chiropractic profession will be what the profession will be, not because of them, but in spite of them.

    Now if they have any sense they will do as they usually do when cornered, make another blog heading and move on. But of course they may just feel the need to have just on last rant?

    One would have to hope that silence ensues and they leave debating to those who are more able to assimilate the information in a reasoned manner and therefore reach a sensible and informed conclusion, something it would seem that to date these people are incapable of.

  • K

    LOL! You’re not even very good at insults. Or using Google.

  • @K

    I hope you feel better after that, dear. A couple things:

    “Skepticat…has no formal university education .. and is a middle class housewife…”

    Neither of these assertions are true and you have no grounds whatsoever for thinking they are but I understand why you feel the need to make them and then run away having done so.

    “they have stopped people posting who disagree with them,”

    This is demonstrable nonsense as is evident from the comments on both blogs. People who disagree are welcome on our blogs; people who who repeatedly post gratuitous abuse or continually refuse to engage with questions raised by others are not. Sum total of people banned on my blog: two. Same for Zeno’s.

    I note your failure to answer my question about Obama and I’m left wondering how you think his ‘endorsement’ of chiropractic is relevant to anything.

    “A cretin is a cretin,” as you say. And a coward is a coward.

  • @Zeno

    maybe better than you think.

    It would seem that the accusations by a rather irrate blogger on your wife’s site accusing you both that you were actively tracing posters, especially those who disagree with you, via their IP address and web history, and his suggestion was you were doing it illegally, may be accurate? Good grief I really hope so.

    You do not have my permission to trace anything about me, just for the record, although I am sure I am not hard to find lol

    If this is accurate, then your actions, opinions and purpose of your sites may suggest something even more sinister.

    @Mrs Henness (Skepticat)

    I sincerly hope you get well soon. Your postings, on both this site and your own when people disagree with you, could suggest that you are someone who may genuinely need help. If you abuse people, human nature is to give some back, either take it or leave it alone.

    @Mr Henness (Zeno)

    You do not however deny the accuracy of my last post….but of course you could do what you usually do, cherry pick and skip around the issues to bolster your own views and that of this website.

    enjoy the weekend.

  • K

    On Sunday 20 June 2010 at 11:44, you said:

    So this will be my last post

    Then just an hour and a half later you said:

    It would seem that the accusations by a rather irrate blogger on your wife’s site accusing you both that you were actively tracing posters, especially those who disagree with you, via their IP address and web history, and his suggestion was you were doing it illegally, may be accurate? Good grief I really hope so.

    You obviously have little idea about the web or IP addresses or blogs.

    Then again, no one on Skepticat’s blog accused us of ‘actively tracing posters’.

    However, if you want to put your name to an accusation that either of us has done something illegal, can you ask your lawyer to get in touch with me? Or perhaps you should report it to the police? Then again, they don’t look too kindly on people wasting their time.

    Skepticat is not “AKA Mrs Henness”, so why are you trying to make something of it? Do you think that’s something particularly juicy that you’ve just managed to work out all by your self?

    If you abuse people, human nature is to give some back, either take it or leave it alone.

    Which is exactly why Skepticat gives as good as she gets. Better in fact. Which I suspect is what is upsetting you and why you have sunk to casting pathetic aspersions about her. However, neither on this blog nor on her own is there a single instance of Skepticat abusing anyone who did not abuse her or me or another poster first. Can’t say the same for you, can I?

    You do not however deny the accuracy of my last post….but of course you could do what you usually do, cherry pick and skip around the issues to bolster your own views and that of this website.

    It was such an obviously ill-informed rant, it really wasn’t worth the effort to demolish, easy as that would have been.

    Like Skepticat, I frequently leave such comments for all to see. They keep everyone informed and my more intelligent readers entertained.

  • @K

    You have shamelessly fabricated a story about an accusation appearing on my blog. This ‘irate poster’ doesn’t exist, except in your fevered imagination, which rather suggests you’re the one who needs help. You sound as barmy as the first guy I banned from my blog and who is also banned from this one. Funny, that.

    Now please tell me why you think Obama is qualified to make a judgement on chiropractic and why you think his endorsement is relevant.

  • @K

    Floor manager? If only! Man, how you chiropractors like to inflate people’s status (normally your own)! Unfortunately, the highest I ever achieved in a supermarket was being in charge of the cardboard crushing machine at Waitrose in Southend-on-sea, having been demoted from shelf-stacking (after an issue with jaffa-cakes that I’d prefer never again to discuss).

    Brilliant posts by the way, they reveal much about the inner workings of the chiropractric mind.

  • @K
    Having been banned from skepticat’s blog (not entirely undeserved although a little sensitive-and personally I feel the preserve of the blogmaster/mistress to deal with) I recognise that it is al to easy to assume slinging-match mode. I think the problem is though that skepticism should in theory strive to work towards something. The brand of discussion often seeen on these forums is not really skepticism, but rather opinion-touting without reflection on views on these opinions. Personally I regret this, as it would be far more constructive if it was the view of both parties to strive towards something positive, recognising the reciprocal values, but it is each individual’s perogative to spend their time as they wish. What I do feel though is that it is not fair to mis-represent intentions.
    To make matters worse, there is a cycle fo discussions being ran around every so often and it gets tedious and inviting to rant.
    But then again, it is certainly the preserve of these skeptics to go round in circles.
    Kind regards,
    Stefaan
    It is only the beginning

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