As chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession, it standards are regulated and monitored by the General Chiropractic Council. They publish a Code of Practice to which all registrants must adhere. Nobody is allowed to practice as a Chiropractor unless they are registered with the GCC; to do so is a criminal offence.
In order to retain their annual registration, chiropractors must demonstrate that they have taken steps to refresh, update and reinforce their clinical skills by presenting a portfolio of their continuing professional development. The minimum requirement is for 30 hours of learning each year; however, all of our chiropractors easily exceed that figure – in the last 10 years, they have averaged over 100 hours training per year each, attending seminars and conferences; reading journals and scientific papers; completing post-graduate courses and holding in-house meetings to discuss the results of audits, peer observations, case consultations and performance reviews.
In 2012, the Queen approved the grant of a Royal Charter to the College of Chiropractors, the first Royal Charter to be granted to a complementary medicine organisation in the UK. Rarely granted, a Royal Charter signals permanence and stability and, in the College’s case, a clear indication to others of the leadership value and innovative approach the College brings to the development of the chiropractic profession. The Royal Charter essentially formalises the College’s position as a unique, apolitical, consultative body, recognising its role in promoting high practice standards and certifying quality and thus securing public confidence.
All of our chiropractors belong to the Royal College of Chiropractors, as Licentiate members (LRCC), Full Members or Fellows (FRCC). The College also has a number of specialist faculties and Martin Young, and Ordinary Fellow since 1999, was elected as a inaugural Fellow of the Pain Faculty in 2014.
Martin Young was also the first recipient of the College’s President’s Award for services to the profession in 2009; in 2013, he became the only person to win the award twice.
The College has also instigated two Quality Marks:
The Patient Partnership Quality Mark was launched by the College’s Lay Partnership group in 2006 as smeans of setting high standards of clinical practice above and beyond the minimum regulatory requirements of the General Chiropractic Council. Our Patient Partnership Quality Mark (PPQM) recognises excellence in terms of meeting patient expectations. To qualify, we were required to demonstrate that we met patient expectations in a wide range of areas, as identified by the lay members of the LPG, including the following:
- Booking systems and out-of-hours cover
- Cleanliness and safety
- Patient education
- Record keeping
- Other forms of care offered
Each award is for a period of three years, after which reapplication must be made, detailing how the clinic has made even more progress in each area – quite a challenge!
We were amongst the first ever recipients of the award in 2007 and have held the PPQM continuously ever since.
The Clinical Management Quality Mark recognises excellence in terms of operating within a structured and managed clinical environment. Applicants must demonstrate excellence in their clinical governance throughout a range of areas including:
- Clinical audit
- Risk management
- Incident reporting
- Outcome measurement
- Patient satisfaction
- Emergency procedures
- Operational policy.
Every year, our chiropractors carry out at least one clinical audit (this year we’re doing three!). Clinical audit is a process whereby clinicians look at the way in which they do things and measure them against current guidelines; advice from professional and learned bodies and evidence from research journals.
Having measured themselves against the optimal standards, they then assess their performance and determine where and how improvements can be made. The audit process is then repeated to see whether and how well the changes have worked – and to see whether further analysis or change is required.
Audit is carried out for the benefit of patients to make sure their treatment is of the highest possible standards.