chiropractors / gcc lawyers

At Burton Copeland, we understand how distressing it can be for chiropractors to face an investigation into their fitness to practise by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), following allegations of unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence. Such investigations can result in damage to your career and professional reputation.

We strongly advise you seek out support from our experienced solicitors to minimise any damage. Call us today on 0161 827 9500, or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.

our solicitors can help you

If you are a chiropractor who has received a complaint which is to be investigated by the GCC, we can provide you with advice and assistance throughout the disciplinary process, no matter what your circumstances are. Our professional discipline team can help you within the following areas:

  • Advising you following initial referral to the GCC and throughout the investigation
  • Responding on your behalf to the Investigating Committee
  • Preparing for and representing you at the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee
  • Appealing GCC decisions on your behalf to the High Court or to the Court of Session if you are registered in Scotland
  • Advising and representing you at the police station should you be arrested
  • Preparing your defence for trial

why burton copeland?

Our friendly team handles all types of cases for chiropractors, including those involving unprofessional conduct, professional incompetence or criminal allegations with sensitivity and confidentiality.

We are both Chambers and Legal 500 ranked solicitors, so you can be assured that you are receiving a service from knowledgeable lawyers who are confident in their abilities in relation to GCC legislation and processes.

We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you have access to our expertise and guidance whenever you need it.

frequently asked questions for chiropractors facing investigation by the gcc

what should I do when I have been notified of a gcc investigation into my fitness to practise?

Many chiropractors make the mistake of contacting the GCC following receipt of a notification of investigation. Speaking to the GCC enables them to use what is said against you, and you may, inadvertently, prejudice your own case. Your first port of call should always be to contact a credible and reputable defence solicitor at Burton Copeland to review your case to ensure that you receive the best possible advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

how does the investigation process work?

When an investigation begins, you will be informed about the complaint in writing by the GCC and given an opportunity to comment on it. Your comments will then be sent to the complainant who will be afforded the opportunity to comment on what you have said about the complaint. Any additional comments made by the complainant will be forward to you so that you are fully aware of the issues being raised.

If a response is required, please contact our team who will ensure that your case is put forward in the best possible light, without risk of prejudice, which may be caused if you decide to respond yourself without legal advice.

The GCC can only investigate complaints relating to the following:

  • Unacceptable professional conduct
  • Incompetence
  • Criminal convictions
  • Concerns about a physical or mental condition that has the potential to impact on your ability to treat patients

How an investigation progresses will depend on the nature of the complaint, but may include:

  • Gathering evidence, including health records, from the complainant and any other parties
  • Seeking witness statements from the complainant, patients or other witnesses
  • Seeking comments about your work from your employers/colleagues

Once all of the relevant information has been gathered by the GCC, the matter will be referred to the Investigating Committee who will decide whether your fitness to practise may be in question.

If the Investigating Committee considers that your fitness to practise may be in question, it will refer your case to a formal hearing to be heard either by the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee, depending on the facts of your case. You will receive notification of this referral from the GCC and the reasons why the matter has been referred to a hearing.

what sanctions can the professional conduct committee/health committee impose?

If your case progresses to a Professional Conduct Committee hearing and you are found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, this Committee can:

  • Admonish you. This is a formal warning that remains on your file
  • Place restrictions on your registration for up to a maximum of three years. This is known as a conditions of practice order
  • Suspend your registration for up to a maximum of three years
  • Remove your name from the register

If your case progresses to a Health Committee hearing, and this Committee upholds the complaint against you, it can:

  • Impose a conditions of practice order (see above) for a maximum of three years
  • Suspend your registration for a maximum of three years

Erasure of your name from the register is not a sanction available to the GCC if your case relates solely to your ill health.

Any sanctions imposed by a Professional Conduct Committee or Health Committee hearing usually come into effect 28 days after you have been notified of the decision, either on the day of the hearing if you are present or when the notification has been deemed to have taken place if you are not present at the hearing. However, if the Committee imposes a suspension of your registration or removal of your name from the register, it can impose an immediate suspension order if it considers this to be necessary, notwithstanding the 28-day appeal period.

Our specialist team of solicitors can assist you at any stage of a GCC investigation.

am I able to continue working during the investigation?

In some cases, you are able to continue working while an investigation is being carried out. However, at any point during the investigation, the GCC can refer you to an interim suspension hearing held by the Investigating Committee if the GCC considers that the complaint raises an immediate concern for the protection of the public.

This Committee will consider whether it should suspend your registration while the complaint is being investigated. Such decisions are made on the basis of very specific tests and not on the evidence or facts of your particular case.

You should get at least 10 days’ notice of this hearing and you have the right to attend and to be legally represented.

It is, therefore, important that you contact the specialist team at Burton Copeland as soon as you receive a notification of a GCC interim suspension hearing so that we can help to ensure the best outcome for you.

how long do investigations take?

The GCC states that it will aim to complete the investigation as quickly as possible. The GCC should keep you and other people who are directly involved up to date on their progress and should give you an idea how long their enquiries will take at each stage of the process.

Investigations usually last several months due to the complexity and seriousness of these types of allegations. On occasions, advice is also required from experts, which may elongate proceedings. The GCC may also ask you to take part in specific assessments, all of which will add time to the length of any investigation into your fitness to practise.

The specialist team at Burton Copeland will endeavour to resolve matters as quickly as possible, although our main focus is making sure you get the outcome you desire.

can I appeal a decision?

There is no appeal from a decision of the Investigating Committee other than by way of a Judicial Review, which can only be brought in specific circumstances.

If, however, you wish to appeal a decision of the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee, you do have a right of appeal to the High Court in England and Wales and to the Court of Session in Scotland, depending on your circumstances.

Any appeal must be lodged with the relevant Court within 28 days of the notification of the Professional Conduct Committee’s Notice of Finding, which is formal notification of the decision that had been made about your registration.

If you want to appeal a decision made by the GCC, it’s advisable to speak to a member of our professional discipline team as soon as possible after receipt of the Notice of Finding, if you have not done so already.

contact us today

To speak to one of our specialist professional discipline solicitors, contact our Manchester office today. You can call 0161 827 9500 during office hours, or 0161 832 7834 at any other time. Alternatively, fill in our online form and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.