A general record of my ongoing battle with all forms of nonsense.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Chiropractic Trade Organisations launch coordinated attack on General Chiropractic Council

A letter expressing no confidence in the General Chiropractic Council’s process, interpretation and proportionality in its regulation of the chiropractic profession has been written to the GCC. Its signatories are the chair of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association and the Presidents of the British Chiropractic Association, Scottish Chiropractic Association and United Chiropractic Association.

It’s a long document, with 89 points of complaint to made against the GCC. The most interesting points from my first read were 35 to 38. The trade organisations are accusing the GCC (rightly in my opinion) of doing exactly what they are now accusing their members of.

They correctly point out that the GCC’s patient information leaflet was making similar claims to those Alan Henness and myself complained about. The GCC withdrew this leaflet after I reported them to the ASA in September last year.

They also point out that the GCC was well aware that these claims were being made for some time, from their 2004 survey of the profession, with over 57% of the profession claiming to treat asthma with a back rub, yet the GCC issued no guidance to the profession.

But these are problems that are only to be expected of the GCC. The GCC was set up by chiropractors in order to protect their profession, rather than by members of the public seeking protection from them.

The GCC only acted when they were cornered: their code of conduct states that claims must follow ASA guidelines, and the ASA clearly informed the GCC that these claims did not. They had no choice.

There’s a lesson here for other quacks seeking to regulate their own quackery. You can use people from your own profession to regulate, and they’ll prove themselves incompetent. Or you can use people to regulate your industry properly - and they’ll destroy it.


Blue Wode said...

A great post, especially your summing up in the final paragraph. I think you’re spot on with your comments about the GCC being “set up by chiropractors in order to protect their profession, rather than by members of the public seeking protection from them”. Indeed the following quote from a former Chairman of the GCC, Michael Copland-Griffiths, seems to confirm it:

"In spite of strong mutual suspicion and distrust, the profession united under a group formed specifically to pursue regulation and secured the Chiropractors Act (1994).....Regulation for a new profession will literally 'legitimise it', establishing its members within the community, making them feel more valued. In turn, this brings greater opportunity for more clients and a healthier bank balance."

Statutory Regulation — The chiropractic experience
European Journal of Oriental Medicine, Vol.2 No.6, 2004

Stefaan Vossen said...

Hi Simon, still waiting for my complaint from you to go through at the GCC, funny thing is that one of the associates at the same clinic and with the same complaint has been given a letter, to say they won't persue the matter, whereas I haven't lol. As you know I am quite comfortable, as are most chiropractors I know, with the fact that there isn't much evidence and I thank you again for helping people realise that that means that it is naughty for people to make claims. It's been the most useful shake-up in many years! Regards,

David colquhoun said...

Brilliant posr. para 33 in that letter is a killer. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon

Some of your most avid readers are chiropractors. Attention on regulation of all health issues can only drive standards up

Anonymous said...

As this thread mentions chiropractic, I presume my post will nit be removed for being out of context.

It would seem that there is a guy called Richard Lanigan of 'chiropracticlive' blog, fame, who wishes to have an open debate with you SB and of course, Andy Lewis, simon perry and Zeno at one of your skeptics in the pub meetings. I understand it relates to 'traditional chiropractic', which I believe is the segment of the UK chiropractic profession who treat the 'subluxation', but you have so far declined? Actually it may be interesting to have a panel of three from each side eg RL plus two of his oppos and three skeptic experts such as you, Alan (Zeno - Zenosblog) and Andy Lewis ( la Cunard noir -quackometer) and I am sure he would love to see either EE or his mouthpiece; BW. I am sure you would get a full house for that one.

That's strange, I thought you guys enjoyed debate or do you guys just throw stones from behind Walls.

Simon said...


Happy to have the debate, but experience tells that quacks quite often make things up or misquote them in order to convince an audience. For this reason, it makes sense to hold the debate online so references can be checked.

The only difference is that it makes it more difficult to bullshit because the other person can check facts.

I suggest (i) Lanigan picks a specific motion to debate, (ii) we both write up to 1000 words arguing our points, (iii) we both have a 1000 word response.

I'm happy to post the responses on this blog.

Skepticat said...

Seems Lanigan doesn't want a debate after all. He's hoping for a platform in order to deliver a lecture.

"I would explain spinal joint motion the role of mechano recetors and their relationship with the Central Nervous System. I would bring an anatomical model of an ear and explain why a chiropractic adjustment could help otis media."

Well, that would be one way to keep the numbers down at an SitP evening.

Simon said...

Lanigan, I'm not sure if you're accepting my offer of an online debate or rejecting it.

Richard Lanigan said...

Simon,we have written many words why do you think another thousand will make any difference.

I will come to one of your SiP get together and we do it face to face, like all proper debates are conducted. I thought I had made that clear if you are worried about me making stuff up, I wont quote anything unless you have seen it before our debate

Anonymous said...

Oh come on Simon, give him a debate, it will be I treating to watch on both side.

Haighy said...

I'm not saying don't do it but be wary of debating nutcases - Phil Plait described it as "Like trying to teach a chimp about manners while he throws poo at you". And "you may know the science well, but they know the nonsense better". (Not exact quotes but you get the jist!) (Following his debate on Penn radio with a moon hoax wack-job http://sguforums.com/index.php?topic=1347.0). We'd be in the audience helping you point out his fallacious nonsense!