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In a recent case before the Professional Conduct Committee of the GCC our chiropractor client had no evidence offered against him and the allegations were dropped. The Claimant alleged she had been the subject of an accident in a famous supermarket 5 years previously and her life had been affected ever since. She attended out client’s practice, travelling a great distance and sought treatment and a report from him. She was ultimately excluded from the practice. She complained about the content of the report, she claimed our client had retracted it and this had endangered her life and she also complained about her treatment to the GCC. She was directed by the Investigating Committee to produce her GP records going back to the date of the accident but she declined to do so. The complainant’s GP also removed the complainant from their list of patients citing an irretrievable breakdown in the doctor patient relationship.

Despite this the IC decided there was a case to answer albeit not in relation to the report and referred the case to the PCC . Extensive requests for disclosure were made by ustof the GCC (the GP records were requested over a period of 12 months). Service of the GP notes  was still not forthcoming. The week before the hearing the GCC sought to postpone the hearing. We vigorously opposed this and we were successful, the hearing went ahead. The GP records were not available and were never produced. The complainant refused to attend the hearing. The GCC offered no evidence and the case resulted in a finding that our client was not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

John Williams commented “It is my experience in chiropractor cases that the IC will often refer allegations to the PCC which were not the main substance of the complaint by the complainant This was one such cases where the allegations were peripheral to the complainant’s complaint. Furthermore, when a complainant declines to co-operate with the IC when it directs disclosure of relevant GP records and there is evidence in the papers that the complainant has been excluded from treatment by two health professionals for a breakdown in the healthcare worker/patient relationship it is doubly disappointing that the IC took the view there was a case to answer and that further delay and cost accruing to the GCC, the profession and its insurers was incurred. I am pleased that my client’s professional reputation remains intact but he should not have had the stress, anxiety or cost of waiting for a year to attend this hearing and in my view the case should never have progressed past the IC in the first place.Most other health regulators have procedures in place for screening out vexatious/unmeiri complaints. The GCC have a procedure available to them in their legislation to use screeners. I don't understand why they (unlike the General Osteopathic Council) have never used it?".

Our client commented:-

"I think it is a great shame that the case went as far as it did. I believe a process should be in place to prevent this from occurring in the future along with . However, I cannot deny that the past year and a half has been emotionally and physically draining. I hope that a complaint like that can be prevented from occurring again in the future but from my experiences I do not hold out any great hope this will happen".