A recent General Chiropractic Council (GCC) case illustrates “the importance of empathetic and professional communication when your views differ from those of a patient.”

This case concerned a disagreement between a first-time patient and a chiropractor after the patient revealed that they were ethically vegan (an approach that did not align with the chiropractor’s strongly held view that it is necessary to eat meat to be healthy). The chiropractor considered that their veganism explained aspects of the patient’s appearance.

The GCC said:

“It was clear from the evidence that both the patient and chiropractor held, and expressed, strong personal views, but the continuation of the discussion across a series of emails – including after the patient had cancelled the next appointment, and made a complaint to the clinic – that formed the body of the complaint.

“While a patients’ diet is a legitimate subject for discussion during an appointment as it could have an impact on their health, it is the chiropractor’s responsibility to work with and respect the patient’s personal views and decisions.”

The Code states the chiropractor should:

  • A1: show respect, compassion and care for your patients by listening to them and acknowledging their views and decisions. You must not put any pressure on a patient to accept your advice.
  • A2: respect patients’ privacy, dignity and cultural differences and their rights prescribed by law.
  • C5 – select and apply appropriate evidence-based care which meets the preferences of the patient at that time.
  • F5: listen to, be polite and considerate at all times with patients, including regarding any complaint that a patient may have.
UK Fitness to Practise News

Investigating Committee Finding

The IC found that, while the registrant had demonstrated a significant degree of rudeness and lack of empathy towards his patient, and had not offered any apology for the distress they caused, there was no complaint about the treatment they delivered and their behaviour, although repeated, involved one patient over a relatively short timescale.

Although in no way to be condoned, the Committee did not consider that, taken as a whole, the registrant’s conduct in this single instance would be considered by the public to constitute unacceptable professional conduct.

The IC found there was no case to answer, however they exercised their right to issue advice to the registrant. The IC considered that the Registrant might reflect on lessons he could learn from this complaint, in particular the need to communicate effectively with patients to establish and maintain a professional relationship, respect patients’ individual choices, listen to them and acknowledge their views and decisions, regardless of their own opinion.

Disclaimer: The accuracy and information of news stories published on this website is accurate on the date of publishing. We endeavour to update stories if information change. You can contact us with change and update requests. Where possible, we will link to sources. Content on this website is for guidance purposes only. We cannot accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.

Insight Works Training

Restoration Courses

Courses suitable for any health and social care practitioner who is considering making an application for restoration back onto the register.

Insight Works Training

Insight & Remediation

Courses that are suitable for any healthcare practitioner who is facing an investigation or hearing at work or before their regulatory body.

Insight Works Training

Probity, Ethics & Professionalism

Courses designed for those facing a complaint involving in part or in whole honesty, integrity and /or professionalism.