All complaints made against chiropractors are investigated by the General Chiropractic Council (“GCC”). Complaints are usually received from patients, other healthcare professionals, other regulatory bodies, the police, employers and members of the general public.
The types of complaint normally received by the GCC include:
• Criminal Convictions;
• Unacceptable professional conduct;
• Concerns regarding a Chiropractor’s own health which are sufficiently serious to impact on their ability to treat patients.
The Investigating Committee investigates all complaints made to the GCC about a chiropractor’s conduct, proficiency or health and will establish if there is a case to answer against the registrant.
The Investigation Process
On receipt of a complaint, the GCC will carry out an investigation. They will invite the complainant to provide a statement of evidence and may also obtain evidence from third parties such as any witnesses.
A copy of the complaint is provided to the chiropractor who is then given 28 days to provide their comments and observations on the complaint. It is important to seek urgent advice from a lawyer from the Medic Assistance Scheme on receipt of details of a complaint. Our expert lawyers can advise you regarding the merits of a response in your specific circumstances and where appropriate can prepare a written response for consideration by the Investigation Committee.
In our experience, comprehensive detailed submissions can persuade the Investigation Committee that there is no case to answer which ensures that the GCC close their case.
The Investigating Committee will meet in private to consider a complaint and to decide if there is a case to answer. Neither the complainant nor the chiropractor is allowed to attend this meeting, hence the significance of written representations.
If the Committee decides that there is no case to answer, then the case is closed and the complaint will be taken no further. If, however, the Investigating Committee forms a view that there is a case to answer, then they will refer the Registrant to either a Health Committee or a Professional Conduct Committee for them to decide in due course if an allegation is proved.
A chiropractor should self-refer to the GCC where appropriate, particularly if there are changes in circumstances such as a chiropractor having received a criminal conviction or caution.
If you are considering the necessity of self-referral or face an investigation by the General Chiropractic Council, please contact the MedicAssistanceScheme to speak to a lawyer to advise and guide you through the process.
GCC investigations following criminal proceedings
Chiropractors can sometimes find themselves the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings, either related or unrelated to their professional practice. It is essential for chiropractors to obtain legal advice from lawyers with expertise in both criminal matters and essentially also in GCC proceedings.
The MedicAssistanceScheme draws from a team of expert solicitors who have experience in not only dealing with GCC matters, but also criminal matters, including, but not limited to the following types of issues:
- Motoring offences;
- Alcohol-related offences;
- Sexual offences;
- Gross negligence manslaughter;
- Dishonesty offences.
Our expert solicitors can represent chiropractors in the police station, the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court, mindful of the significance of the proceedings to the practitioner both personally and professionally.
If as a result of criminal proceedings, a chiropractor finds themselves in restricted financial circumstances, they may be eligible for legal aid to pay for representation before the criminal courts. Our solicitors have the requisite contracts in place to be able to provide legal services under the legal aid scheme where applicable.