Chiropractor “A” received a complaint alleging inappropriate and sexually motivated behaviour towards a patient. The case concerned a female patient who complained that she had been asked to kneel on all fours on the treatment bench in her underwear whilst being examined. There were also allegations of an inappropriate text message and comments made during appointments.
The complaint was referred to the Investigating Committee (“IC”) of the General Chiropractic Council to consider if it was necessary to suspend the chiropractor for two months pending further investigation. The only basis upon which a suspension could be imposed was if the Committee found that the chiropractor posed a real risk to the pubic.
Jonathan Goldring instructed by John Williams of Bankside Law solicitors represented the chiropractor at the hearing . One of the key planks of the submissions was that three days before the hearing, the patient had confirmed that she was in fact wearing a modesty gown during the appointments and was not just in her underwear as she had originally suggested.
Chiropractor A had repeatedly made this fact clear to the Council and indeed had asked through Bankside Law to put that question to the patient several months before. Mr Goldring submitted that this was a significant failing during the investigation by the Council. He submitted that had the question been put to the patient earlier the case may never have been referred. Indeed not only was the the interim suspension application dismissed but the whole case was subsequently thrown out by the IC the following week
The effect on a professional person of a looming interim suspension hearing can not be underestimated. This case highlights the importance of early intervention and thorough investigation when managing complaints.