Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring!
“They don’t like it up ’em” also springs to mind from the excellent and much-loved seventies TV series Dad’s Army.
Dad’s Army were a comical bunch of misfits — a parody of the real everyday heroes of the Home Guard.
In a completely different world, it looks like my 523 complaints to the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) have had some effect already. I’ve not even received an acknowledgement from the GCC, but we all know they got it! Not only got it, but someone leaked it outside of the GCC. Or maybe they were stalking me in the Internet?
Anyhow, thanks to a disaffected chiropractor at www.chiropracticlive.com, we know that the McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) know of my complaints. Not only that, but they have sent out a letter to all their members advising them to take down their websites immediately and to make sure they aren’t claiming anything there isn’t evidence for. Oh! And stop using the title ‘Dr’ where it might confuse the public into thinking they are real doctors.
Their letter is as interesting as it is entertaining:
Date: 8 June 2009 09:12:18 BDT
Subject: FURTHER URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!
If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday. If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and – this is most important – ACT ON IT. This is not scaremongering. We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.
Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:
The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is as follows.
1. If you have a website, take it down NOW.
When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.
2. REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice. The MCA are working on an interim replacement leaflet which will be sent to you shortly.
3. If you have not done so already, enter your name followed by the word ‘chiropractor’ into a search engine such as Google (e.g. Joe Bloggs chiropractor) and you will be able to ascertain what information about you is in the public domain e.g. where you might be listed using the Doctor title or where you might be linked with a website which might implicate you. We have found that even if you do not have a website yourself you may still have been linked inadvertently to a website listing you or your services.
CHECK ALL ENTRIES CAREFULLY AND IF IN DOUBT, CONTACT THE RELEVANT PROVIDER TO REMOVE YOUR INFORMATION.
CHECK OUR PREVIOUS EMAILS FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE AND KEY WORDS TO AVOID.
KEEP A LOG OF YOUR ACTIONS.
4. If you use business cards or other stationery using the ‘doctor’ title and it does not clearly state that you are a doctor of chiropractic or that you are not a registered medical practitioner, STOP USING THEM immediately.
5. Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.
IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, YOU MAY BE AT RISK FROM PROSECUTION.
IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, THE MCA MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ASSIST YOU WITH ANY PROCEEDINGS.
Although this advice may seem extreme or alarmist, its purpose is to protect you. The campaigners have a target of making a complaint against every chiropractor in the UK who they perceive to be in breach of the GCC’s CoP, the Advertising Standards Code and/or Trading Standards. We have discovered that complaints against more than 500 individual chiropractors have been sent to the GCC in the last 24 hours.
Whatever you do, do not ignore this email and make yourself one of the victims. Some of our members have not followed our earlier advice and now have complaints made against them. We do not want that to happen to you.
Even if you do not have a website, you are still at risk. Our latest information suggests that this group are now going through Yellow Pages entries. Be in no doubt, their intention is to scrutinise every single chiropractor in the UK.
The MCA Executive has worked tirelessly over the last week keeping abreast of development and contacting at risk members. We have decided that this is our best course of action to protect you and the Association at this time of heightened tension. This advice is given to you solely to protect you from what we believe is a concerted campaign, and does not imply any wrongdoing on your part or the part of the Association. We believe that our best course of action is simply to withdraw from the battleground until this latest wave of targeting is over.
Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.
Most importantly, this email and all correspondence from the MCA is confidential advice to MCA members alone, and should not be shared with anyone else.
Please be aware that the office phone lines are likely to be busy, so, if you need our help, please send an email to the office and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Administrative Officer – Executive Liaison
McTimoney Chiropractic Association
Wallingford OX10 8DJ
Tel : 01491 829494
Even the MCA were so unsure of what their website claimed that they took it down completely and replaced it with a single page.
This is not a witch-hunt, but it’s a pity that it has taken unpaid, but concerned bloggers to make happen what the GCC should never have allowed to happen in the first place.
MCA members should now be only making claims that can be substantiated and don’t mislead the public – and rightly so. All we need now is for the GCC to ensure ALL their members do the same and stick to their Code of Practice.
The analogy with Dad’s Army goes further. The chiropractors and their associations are like the the comical members of Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, making fools of themselves at every turn: they mean well, but are ineffectual. Leave it to the real Doctors on the front line to provide the proper medical care.
I’ve stirred them up and no, they don’t like it up ’em, do they?