On 10 June a revealing letter from the McTimoney Chiropractic Association was published on Andy Lewis’s excellent website, The Quackometer. The strongly worded letter from the MCA advises all its members to take down their websites immediately or risk prosecution. The letter refers to “a witch hunt against chiropractors” with campaigners targeting “any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research”.
The use of the phrase “witch hunt” brings to mind visions of the Salem witch trials or the worst excesses of the McCarthy era, with innocent people being unjustly persecuted by those in power. Challenging unsubstantiated treatment claims does not seem to me to qualify as a witch hunt.
The letter goes on to advise members to “REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic” and, “If you use business cards or other stationery using the ‘doctor’ title and it does not clearly state that you are a doctor of chiropractic or that you are not a registered medical practitioner, STOP USING THEM immediately.”
They were also warned to “Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.”
The letter concludes: “Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients. Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.” It is reassuring to see that the MCA takes its ethical responsibilities so seriously.
Just in case any of its members had not got the message, the MCA letter states: “IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, YOU MAY BE AT RISK FROM PROSECUTION.”