Frequently Asked Questions
Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint about a chiropractor. We get complaints from patients, their families, other members of the public and other health professionals.
What complaints can the GCC take forward?
The GCC can take forward complaints about:
- Treatment, care or advice given by a chiropractor
- Any aspect of the professional or personal behaviour of a chiropractor
- The physical or mental health of a chiropractor
What complaints are the GCC unable to investigate?
The GCC regulate individual chiropractors and do not accept complaints against clinics.
The GCC can not resolve matters that relate solely to payment. We have no power in relation to compensation whatsoever.
As a general principle the GCC will not investigate allegations of the following matters since legally they do not amount to complaints of unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence.
This list is not intended as a complete list of all allegations which are beyond the scope of fitness to practice processes.
- Complaints solely about business disputes;
- Complaints solely about employment, contracts or business premises;
- Complaints solely about fees or costs of treatment unless there are allegations of dishonesty or an intent to deceive or mislead;
- Complaints brought solely to remedy a private grievance which does not raise issues of public protection, patients’ safety or the reputation of the profession;
- Vexatious complaints
- Complaints which solely relate to a registrant’s personal life unless the complaint: has the potential to bring the profession into disrepute; could potentially affect public confidence in the profession; relates to a conviction in the United Kingdom for a criminal offence; relates to a physical or mental condition which seriously impairs a registrant’s ability to practise as a chiropractor; or raises issues of public protection or patient safety;
- Minor or single complaints about note taking/record keeping unless there is evidence of “incompetence or negligence to a high degree”;
- Complaints which lie solely within the jurisdiction of another regulator and which should have been made to that regulator (as, for example, allegations relating to the treatment of animals); or
- Complaints which amount to a difference of professional opinion and do not raise issues of public protection or patient safety.
When should I complain to the GCC?
All chiropractors must have a complaints procedure in their practice and deal with complaints promptly and fairly. So it may be a good idea to try to solve the problem first with the chiropractor. If you are not satisfied with how the chiropractor deals with your complaint, they must tell you that you have the right to complain to the GCC and give you our address. We realise that you might prefer to contact us straight away, rather than complain first to the chiropractor. If you do, we will explain what we can do about your concerns and what you will need to do next.
How should I complain?
Our online complaint form captures all the information we need to assess your complaint.
If you wish to complain in an alternate form, click here.
What happens after I have made my complaint?
- write to you within seven days to tell you we have received your complaint
- tell you if we can deal with your complaint
- tell you who is dealing with your complaint and how to contact them
- give you detailed information about what will happen next.
Sometimes, in serious cases where there appears to be an immediate risk to the public, the GCC may ask for a chiropractor to be prevented from seeing patients while a complaint has been dealt with. This means that a special committee meets at short notice and can immediately suspend the chiropractor’s registration.
As part of our investigation we will:
- write to the chiropractor to tell them about your complaint. We must give them a copy of your complaint (and any other relevant documents) so that they know the details. If you are worried about this, please tell us
- send you a copy of what the chiropractor says about your complaint, so that you can comment if you want – we will give a copy of your comments to the chiropractor
- ask you to agree to our getting a copy of your health records (if they are relevant to your complaint)
- invite you to make a statement of evidence, set out in a legal way. We will ask if you if you are willing for a solicitor to phone you to go over the details of your complaint, draft the statement of evidence, send it to you for your comments, send you the final version for you to take to a local solicitor for that solicitor to witness your signature on the statement – typically this costs £7-£10
We will pay the solicitor’s fees and the cost of witnessing your statement. If you don’t want to make a statement of evidence, that will not be a problem. The Investigating Committee will rely on your original letter of complaint and your complaint will be investigated in the normal way.
The way we investigate complaints is set down by law to make sure everything is fair, open and done in the public interest. So, once our complaints procedures start, everything must be done in a set way.
When we have gathered together all the information that is available about your complaint, it will be discussed in private by the Investigating Committee. The committee will decide whether or not it needs to send your complaint for a formal hearing by our Professional Conduct or Health Committee. We will write to you to let you know what the Investigating Committee decides to do and the reasons for the decision.
How long will the complaints process take?
This will depend on the details of the complaint, but we aim to investigate any complaints in as short a time as possible.
Sometimes cases can take longer than a year before they are complete.
Please refer to our publication 'How to complain about a chiropractor' for more information on making a complaint.