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We recently launched the GCC registrant Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) survey – and I’ve been encouraged by both the high response rate (nearly 20% of the register have shared their views) and the thoughtfulness of the responses received.

Anyone who has spent time on social media will know the polarisation of views and disappointing level of discourse on EDI matters.

I was apprehensive about our being labelled as ‘woke’.  That has not been the case – so I must reflect on my own unconscious bias!

That said, some questions have been raised which I would like to address:

Why are we doing this survey?

Everyone has protected characteristics, as defined by the Equality Act 2010 – including a straight middle-aged white man like me.

Your age, sex, sexual orientation and race are all protected by law (along with the other five characteristics of marriage/civil partnership status, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and religion). Whether knowingly or not, each of these protected characteristics alters our experience of the world, and affects our healthcare needs, and healthcare outcomes.
We are carrying out the survey to better understand the experience and knowledge chiropractors have in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in healthcare. The survey was developed with the advice of the GCC EDI Working Group (which consists of practising chiropractors). We want to provide support and advice to registrants to help you support your patients, and to help to eradicate the inequalities endemic within the healthcare system – inequalities that affect patients, existing practitioners, and new graduates.

These inequalities were highlighted in September last year by the system regulator, the Professional Standards Authority, in a report called Safer Care for All. Following that report, the PSA has made it clear to all professional registers that they are updating their standards to assess our progress in tackling inequalities. We are pleased to say the GCC has made good progress already, and this survey will specifically help us deliver point 5 of our 15 point EDI action plan.

Are we going to mandate EDI training courses?

In short, no.

I know that chiropractors show respect for their patients, treating them fairly and without discrimination. And any two-hour EDI training course is going to have little effect on those with closed minds! There is a place for training – on-line and in person – and the best training serves to aid thinking and practice more widely. 

When we developed the new Education Standards, we wove equality considerations within each standard, so that new graduates are prepared, confident and fit to work with the diverse range of patients, colleagues and stakeholders they will encounter in the workplace. 

What about existing chiropractors?

The Education Committee of the GCC has agreed that there will be a focus on EDI in the 2023-24 reflective practice CPD prompts. Good reflective practice means thinking about your experience then identifying areas to grow your skills and confidence – a perfect approach for EDI, where there is always space to gain knowledge and develop.

We will publish the new prompts in September (once this year’s focus on consent is complete), but there will be no requirement for you to “do a course.” Unless you personally decide this is an area of your practice you want to develop further.

Our focus on EDI in the coming CPD year is not about making sure every patient is treated fairly, and respectfully– that is surely a given. It is about building your confidence to ask the right questions, anticipate the needs of patients and use the wealth of practical information available to better meet (and hopefully exceed) your patient’s expectations of you as a healthcare provider. That is surely better for the patient and better for you.

Thank you once again for taking part in the research, and I look forward to sharing the results of the survey with you.

Nick Jones, CEO and Registrar


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