Contacting The Privy Council: GCC Moving The Goalposts

June 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic) (, , , , )

Here is my letter to the Privy Council regarding the GCC’s attempt to waive the rules:

Dear Sirs / Mesdames,

I am writing to you with regard to the news that the General Chiropractic Council is asking the Privy Council to expedite a Section 60 Order “to achieve the following changes that GCC identified some time ago for inclusion in an anticipated portmanteau Order spanning necessary changes for all the healthcare regulators“. These changes being: “raising the referral threshold for the IC from ‘case to answer’ to ‘realistic prospect of success’” and “providing powers for the consensual disposal of complaints by the IC in cases where referral to the PCC is not required in the public interest“.

I wish to register my concern that the GCC is attempting to have the rules changed to alter the threshold to ‘realistic prospect of success’ and to allow the GCC to dismiss complaints without consideration.

I would be concerned if the GCC were able to raise the referral threshold to ‘realistic prospect of success’, partly because I am unsure who would define this ‘realistic prospect of success’. I am also worried that the GCC would be able to decide on whether referral to the PCC was ‘in the public interest’. Other definitions that the GCC have provided in the past lead me to wonder how meaningful these definitions would be.

To provide one example:

The definition of evidence-based care that has been published by the GCC is as follows
“clinical practice that incorporates the best available evidence from research, the preferences of the patient and the expertise of practitioners including the individual chiropractor her/himself”.

This definition, at first sight, would appear to be meaningful. However, the GCC’s acceptance of therapies and diagnostic methods that are clearly not evidence-based (and do not, by any stretch of the imagination, incorporate the best available evidence from research) render this claim to provide evidence-based care completely meaningless in my view:

Adjustment of the atlas, craniosacral therapy and applied kinesiology all fall within the above definition of evidence-based care.

Yours faithfully,
James Cole.

The quotes in my email are from the GCC’s response to Action for Victims of Chiropractic, which I wrote about here. I’ve concentrated on their ability to provide accurate and meaningful definitions. Others may wish to concentrate on their poor governance of the profession.

[Hat tip: BobP]


  1. jdc325 said,

    Just spotted this (written on the chiropractic live blog yesterday) from Richard Lanigan:
    “Yesterday The GCC chief executive Margaret Coats saw her salvation in hurrying up the section 60 amendment which would have allowed the Investigating Committee to weed out vexations cases against chiropractors. The furious response of the sceptics to this decision has made Coats reconsider and she has decided to push ahead with all the 500 complaints”.

  2. GCC and the Privy Council « jdc325's Weblog said,

    […] I noted a suggestion that those not in favour of the GCC doing so contact the Privy Council. I did so, concentrating on my opinion of the GCC’s ability to provide accurate and meaningful […]

  3. Allo V Psycho said,

    I’d written to the Privy Council too, and phoned Ceri King in the PC pffice on Friday for an update. She sounded just lovely, and was very helpful. She explained that it is effectively a council of ministers, and that the secretariat seek the guidance of the relevent department – in this case the Department of Health. SHe anticipated being able to reply by Friday of this week.

  4. Simon Singh Case Response Roundup « God knows what… said,

    […] attempt to complain to the privvy council about the GCC’s goalpost moving over on his blog: he provides the letter he sent and the only reply so far a short acknowledgment. He also discusses the rather unpleasant […]

  5. jdc325 said,


    I can assure you that any changes to the legislation affecting the GCC will be subject to a full public consultation and approval by both Houses of Parliament before consideration by the Privy Council. I have passed your remarks on to the Department on the Health and asked that they take these into account when considering the proposals made by the GCC.

  6. Allo V Psycho said,

    Just beat me to it! I got the same response preceded by:

    “As you may know, these proposals are currently being considered by officials at the Department of Health”.

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