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The UK regulatory body, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), frequently expresses the view that those involved in National Health Service (NHS) healthcare commissioning should fund chiropractic care. The following links may be helpful to NHS healthcare commissioners, and others, in reaching an informed decision regarding chiropractic in the UK.   NOTE: Section S3.2 of the GCC's Code of Practice and Standard of Proficiency (effective from 30th June 2010) requires that the care selected and provided by chiropractors ""must be informed by the best available evidence"" and minimise risks to the patient.

 

Related links

Chiropractic

Beware the spinal trap

The Meade Report criticism

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The British Chiropractic Association has finally dropped their misconceived libel action against Dr Simon Singh. Best of all, the BCA have done this in Chiropractic Awareness Week. Zeno’s blog (15th April 2010)

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“The BCA opposes restricting the scope of practice of chiropractors, yet it recognises that there are boundaries. It actively prohibits unethical practice building or unprofessional marketing which undermines the integrity of the profession. Those limits aside, the BCA supports equality of opportunity and diversity and indeed it has been this rich diversity that has given the chiropractic profession its colour and vibrancy for nearly 85 years.” Views of Richard Brown, President of the British Chiropractic Association, The BackCare Journal (Winter 2009/10) [See page 37]

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"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."  Michael C. Copland-Griffiths, former Chairman of the General Chiropractic Council (European Journal of Oriental Medicine, Vol.2 No.6, 2004) 

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Contained in this Action for Victims of Chiropractic link is correspondence with the GCC (August 2005) in which the GCC stated that it understood that the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) was in the process of establishing a national database to which UK chiropractic patients could report complications following their treatment. However, in a letter to Nature on 22nd September 2005 (in response to an article which questioned what complementary and alternative medicine [CAM] organisations were doing to monitor adverse reactions) Barry Lewis of the BCA stated that the association had, in conjunction with the Anglo-European Chiropractic College, "set up a chiropractic reporting and learning system; more than 1,200 practitioners who are members of the BCA have recently received an information pack to enable them to participate in the scheme. Resulting data will be analysed at the Anglo-European Chiropractic College and outcomes will be relayed to the profession, through our newsletter, journal and website, so practitioners may learn from the experience of others. The intention is that the scheme will, if successful, be offered to other chiropractic associations within Europe in 2006".

NOTE: No mention was made of a database to which the patients of all (approx 2,300) UK chiropractors could report complications following their treatment.

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Emotional Freedom Techniques, "The Ambassador of Meridian Energy Therapies", reported to have gained CPD (Continuing Professional Development) status with both The College of Chiropractors and The McTimoney Chiropractic Association in the UK.

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In the GCC's June 2005 Council Bulletin (see page 3) mention is made to correspondence that had been received from a GP seeking the view of the GCC in respect of the use by a chiropractor of a Vegatest Machine. Members of the GCC "agreed that it would not be appropriate for the GCC to comment on a commercial product". This link contains the position statement of the Scientific and Therapeutic Subcommittee of The Australian College of Allergy which was published the Medical Journal of Australia. It concludes that "Vega testing (the Vega test method) is an unorthodox method of diagnosing allergic and other diseases. It has no established scientific basis and there are no controlled trials to support its usefulness. Vega testing may lead to inappropriate treatment and expense to the patient and community".

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"Sometimes vertebrae can become misaligned or fixated causing interference with the mental impulses that travel between the brain and the rest of the body. Chiropractors refer to this as a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation can cause pain, imbalance, fatigue, lowered resistance to disease and a general decline in health. Doctors of Chiropractic specialise in locating and then correcting vertebral subluxations with a chiropractic spinal adjustment permitting normal nerve transmission, innate recuperative capability, and effective health and adaptation of the person." (Names and locations of all UK chiropractors who are members of this organisation are available via this link) A member of this organisation currently serves on the GCC's committees.

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Section 5.14 of The House of Lords Select Committee Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that a feature of effective regulation is "…to understand and advertise areas of competence, including limits of competence within each therapy".

NOTE: Why doesn't the UK chiropractic regulatory body, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), specify the common chiropractic techniques and practices which it does not consider legitimate?

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A vitalistic subluxation-based UK chiropractic organisation. It says that it ascribes "to the idea that all living organisms are sustained by an innate intelligence". It also says that its sub-committees are taking on "valuable work" such as "raising the profile and importance of subluxation-based wellness chiropractic in the UK". Click on its 'About Us' section to learn more about its philosophy. (Names and locations of all UK chiropractors who are members of this organisation are available via this link)

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An example of a chiropractic practice-building organisation. This organisation — which has held seminars in the UK — offers, among other products, a 12 Visits For Life Protocol; a handout aimed at reducing patient resistance to recommendations; a Vertebral Subluxation Complex brochure; literature to help increase referrals; postcards to help prevent patient dropout, and a brochure encouraging chiropractic care beyond symptomatic relief.

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In this recent investigation which focused on approaches to consent of a small sample of practicing UK chiropractors, only 23% reported that they always discussed serious risk with their patients, and over one third did not advise patients of alternative available treatments. J. M. Langworthy and C. le Fleming, Institute of Musculoskeletal Research and Clinical Implementation, AECC, UK (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, January 2005)

NOTE: As regulated health professionals, UK chiropractors are required to obtain informed consent from their patients to ensure that patients understand the principal benefits, risks and alternatives regarding their proposed treatment. Failure to do so contravenes the UK General Chiropractic Council's code of practice. It should also be noted that, should a patient experience complications, there doesn't appear to be a widely publicised, efficient reporting system in place in the UK for chiropractors and their patients to report adverse events related to chiropractic treatment. Interestingly, the UK General Chiropractic Council's current promotional literature appears to make no mention of serious risks.

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Published in The Guardian on 2nd February 2005, both letters contained in this link fail to mention that chiropractic is based on flawed science. Regarding universities teaching chiropractic degree programmes, it has been said that the worth of a degree in a subject that cannot prove its basic tenet, the subluxation, seems rather dubious. The fact that an established university is prepared to offer such a degree may only serve to diminish the university's standing and reputation.

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The McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) currently claims to have around 400 members who represent at least a quarter of the UK chiropractic profession. This link to the Origin & History section of their website contains this statement : "Following his first heart attack, John McTimoney was asked to take on students in order to ensure the survival of his work…. McTimoney taught, as DD Palmer had before him, that health depends on healthy nerve messages, that subluxations of the vertebrae or other joints interfere with these, and that such subluxations can affect not only joints and muscles, but every cell and organ in the body". The Objectives section of the site states that "By correctly training the hands as an instrument of innate intelligence, healing can be encouraged to take place by the detection and correction of bony subluxations (slight displacements)". NOTE: Three of the ten chiropractors who have been elected to serve of the GCC's committees between June 2007-2012 are members of this organisation. (Names and locations of all UK chiropractors who are members of this organisation are available via this link)

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Article questioning the effectiveness of the UK General Chiropractic Council.

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The UK College of Chiropractors is keen to secure a Royal Charter to become known as the 'Royal College of Chiropractors'. A body applying for a Royal Charter is normally expected to meet a number of criteria, one of which is that it should comprise members of a unique profession. However, the only unique aspect of chiropractic would appear to be its pseudoscientific underpinnings. It has been said that without their subluxation theory, chiropractors are reduced to manipulative therapists practicing a very limited modality shared by osteopaths, physiatrists, sports trainers, physical therapists and others: That without subluxation theory, chiropractic's claim that it is a unique and comprehensive 'alternative' to standard medicine is lost. Furthermore, a body applying for a Royal Charter is expected to have 5,000 or more members. In the UK, there are currently around 3,000 chiropractors.

NOTE: Formal applications for Charters are published to allow other interested individuals or organisations to comment or to lodge counter-petitions. Any proposal which is rendered controversial by a counter-petition is unlikely to succeed. Full details available from the Privy Council via this link.

Royal Charter update 2010

"The application for the Royal Charter was unsuccessful, but the initiative is still alive and when the time is right a further application will be made."

Ref: Section C-170210-3 (v) Minutes of the General Chiropractic Council meeting held on 17 February 2010.