The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

The beginning of the end? Part three

It’s only taken 433 days to get this far.

On Saturday, I received three batches of letters from the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), sent Recorded Delivery.

These letters are the formal notices that a complaint against a chiropractor has been considered by the Investigating Committee, that they have decided that there is a case to answer and that the complaint will go before their Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).

The letters consist of the formal notice, the Notice of Allegation and some of the website pages that contained the claims I complained of and where they were using the title ‘Dr’. The Notices of Allegation are all very similar to this redacted one; straight and to the point. (There’s lots to be said about the documents and I’ll cover that in a separate blog post.)

I have so far received these formal notices for 93 chiropractors.

There will be far more to follow.

Not that the GCC have told me that directly. But they did publish some numbers last week in preparation for their Council meeting on 18th August.

Separating out all the website complaints from other complaints, they give the following figures:

Year Total Awaiting decision No case to answer Referred to PCC Withdrawn
2009 680 31 121 528 0
2010 26 17 8 1 0

Simon Perry submitted a total of 50 complaints and so far, 36 of those have been passed to the PCC, six dismissed and eight still (at that time at least) to be decided.

So it looks like my postie is going to be very busy. Again.

25 Responses to The beginning of the end? Part three

  • Thanks for another interesting update, Zeno.

    Unfortunately, it looks like many, if not all of the complaints referred to the Professional Conduct Committee will be heard in private:
    http://www.chiropracticlive.com/?p=810

    So much for the GCC’s “commitment to equity, probity, transparency and openness”:
    http://www.gcc-uk.org/page.cfm?page_id=17

  • I’m firing off the occasional complaint in NZ (not half as successfully as you two) and thus can appreciate the work involved in doing what you guys have undertaken. Great effort!

    Maybe the GCC will offer you both a job as clearly you are doing part of their job for them.

  • Excellent, Andrew!

    Not sure about wanting to work for the GCC…but someone needs to regulate properly.

    But I think I’ll apply for the job as a homeopath for the NHS in Dundee at a salary of £68,000!

  • Sadly. I’d aquit on the basis of the redacted allegation, because none of the allegations are directly breaches of the Code of Practice. I thought that generally an allegation of misconduct needed to identify what piece of the code was broken. Similarly, “high or moderate positive evidence from randomised controlled trials” is a new interpretation of the ASA code.

    It seems sloppy documentation by the Investigating Committee to me.

  • Davidp

    Yes, it is a strange way of doing things, but seems to be in line with previous complaints. It is just a notice of what the allegation is, but the clauses deemed to have been breached come up later in the Notice of Finding.

  • @ davidp

    Sadly. I’d aquit on the basis of the redacted allegation, because none of the allegations are directly breaches of the Code of Practice. I thought that generally an allegation of misconduct needed to identify what piece of the code was broken. Similarly, “high or moderate positive evidence from randomised controlled trials” is a new interpretation of the ASA code.

    I would love to add to your comments, and believe me I wouldn’t be disagreeing with all that you say. However, as a registered chiropractor with an ever increasing insight into how the GCC conducts itself, I think that for the timebeing I had better not.

  • The proof will be in the rulings. I’m glad to be told it’s the way they do these things.

  • The fact that you can put in complaints for no reason but your own amusement is nothing short of shocking.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Where do you get the idea I did this for no reason but my own amusement?

  • Zeno – Please tell me what other reason you would do this for then.

  • Joe Bloggs

    LOL! Have you run out of ideas? I don’t like seeing people being mislead, particularly when it comes to health.

  • @ Joe Bloggs

    If I may borrow a phrase from one of your incisively witty posts:

    In case you really are THAT stupid, it’s because he doesn’t like seeing people being persuaded to part with their money because of false claims made by unscrupulous practioners of scientifically unsupported therapies.

    Got it now?

  • No, I haven’t run out of ideas. I wonder what qualifications you have to judge whether people are being mislead in these therapies? Has anyone actually come to you personally and said this?

  • Skeptical – Do you have to get involved? Can’t Zeno, who seems to have plenty to say about these chiropractors, stick up for himself?

  • Stick up for himself?

    Oh, sorry. I didn’t realise you were attacking him. I thought you were just another of those quacks that comes here occasionally to have a cathartic tantrum but who can’t quite get all the parts of their brain working together long enough to present a rational, coherent argument.

  • I am not a quack – I am a patient who has been helped so much by acupuncture and, because of blogs like this, they are in danger of having their funding cut

  • @ Joe Bloggs

    Really? I didn’t know blogs like this were so powerful. What did you have acupuncture for?

  • Nope.

    It’s because of the lack of any good evidence that quack therapies are having their funding cut.

    But thanks for letting me know my blog is so influential. :-)

  • Hmm… I’m almost tempted to take up blogging myself. Thanks for the idea, Joe.

  • Joe Bloggs: Monday 23 August 2010 at 18:31 said:

    “The fact that you can put in complaints for no reason but your own amusement is nothing short of shocking.”

    Thing is – I am amused too.

    I am amused that people who have apparently for years and years have misleadingly called themselves “Dr.” when they are not Registered Medical Practitioners in direct contravention of the GCC Code of Practise might finally be getting their just desserts.

    I am amused that people who have for years and years been making apparently baseless medical claims in direct contravention of the GCC code of practice might finally be being brought to account for their actions.

    I am amused that an apparently toothless and apparently disfunctional GCC is finally reviewing these matters after years and years of apparent ignorance.

    I am amused that the very people who thought that they could quite simply and easily “Shut Simon Singh Up” are now facing an alternative reality. This time a rational reality. There is no satisfactory evidence for most of Chiropractic practise.

    Very amusing all round.

    What is shocking and not in the least amusing is that pseudo-medical woo merchants and snake-oil-less snake-oil salesmen have had it so easy for so long.

  • Oh, and by the way – WELL DONE ZENO.

    Thank you for all your amazing efforts.

    Must be worth an OBE at least?

  • Sorry, seem a bit pissed here but I can’t resist.

    Obe Wan Zenobe

  • The title ‘Doctor’ is not a protected title. If it’s okay for Gillian McKeith…

    This means that absolutely anybody can call themselves a Doctor and this especially relates to Quacks and people who aim to deliberately mislead others.

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2008/03/very-soon-falsely-using-title-dr-will.html

    My question is ‘why doesn’t everyone who is against Quackery call themselves Doctors in order to prove this point?’

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