Noticed something different about the BCA…?

Members know that we have been working on a major strategic project which gets to the heart of member and patients needs in the modern healthcare world. In the history of chiropractic in this country, the BCA has always led the way. Now, we bring you the results of the most far-reaching piece of work in our history.

Bad experiences overshadowing the good….

We should take a moment to reflect on the positive experiences that our healthcare colleagues are hearing about us. They recognise that we do great work. Unfortunately, the bad experiences that they hear overshadow this, even though they are fewer in number. They feed the perception of poor practice, potentially dangerous treatments, and avaricious and unethical business practices. GPs were particularly scathing and gave some telling and undeniable examples of bad practice, which we believe can largely be attributed to two things:

The first is that many of the criticisms fired at the profession are undeserved and unjustified. There is a lack of understanding of what chiropractors do, the high levels of training required to qualify and be registered, and the ways in which chiropractic today involves patients and contributes to improving their health as part of a modern healthcare team. With this lack of knowledge, there may be a fear of the unknown, leading to a bias towards assuming the worst.

The good news is that this is something we can address. We can explain, promote and communicate our value much more clearly and directly at this audience, now that we have heard their concerns. Of course, this project is now telling us that this is what we are going to do.

But the second is that there is some justified criticism. There are poor performers, unethical practices and greedy individuals within the profession, and we must acknowledge this because we all know it is true.

There is a lot we can do about this:

  • We can stand for the best of practice and care, and be a beacon for those who, like you, think only in terms of high standards and quality patient care.
  • We can develop our approaches to communication to be flexible and adaptive to the various care settings we are in.
  • We can improve the understanding and breadth of our evidence base, offering objective insights into the value of chiropractic, which our other healthcare colleagues can assess for themselves and comprehend empirically.
  • We can work with our education system to deliver ever higher standards of training which reflect the reality of practise and communicate this more precisely to these stakeholders.
  • And we can ask our regulator to get a grip of these poor performers and force them to up their game or leave the profession.

We must demonstrate that we have listened and learned, sending a signal to those who need to hear it. And we will do this, using your words.

BCA’s new position: a vision, a mission and aims to achieve them

What we are not going to do:

Within our long-term objective, our Vision, we want to make it absolutely clear that the vast majority of you have told us that you do not want chiropractic to lose its strong private practice identity and be focussed on the NHS ‘system’. Of course, some of our members already do valuable work in the NHS and others may join them occasionally or full time. But what you have told us is that you want to be integral to healthcare in the UK regardless of the setting, and not left on the outside of it, as an afterthought.

Whether this is done within private practice or the public system, must be up to you – it must be on your terms. But we can see already that the wind of change is blowing this way. Private practice referrals are becoming more and more commonplace and this will continue, in line with the modern healthcare movement towards greater patient choice. Integration for us means being part this blend of private and public practice, in a way which suits us, but contributes helpfully to the health for our country’s population.

What we are going to do: set the direction of travel as you told us to

We have taken your words, ideas and ambitions, and translated them, in their purest form, into what you want us to achieve for you. It is a long-term ambition and it may take us years but it is the ultimate test for us to determine when our profession has come of age so it needs to be done. As Catherine said in her manifesto, ‘every journey begins with a single step’. That first step is the BCA’s new VISION:

We know where we are heading, but how will we do this? What is the BCA here for?

This major strategic move defines our ambition for the profession but the more here-and-now question, the one that we have wrestled with for decades, is more fundamental – what is the BCA here for? This has to be the raison d’etre that not only explains our purpose but illuminates how our association is going to achieve its Vision, whilst building on and amplifying its obligations to members. And so we need another bold statement, a call to arms, an idea that will make members proud and will draw the very best of our profession into the BCA and bring together the core beliefs of our membership.

An extension of what BCA chiropractors already do…

Catherine: “At one level, it just seems both simple and obvious. Everything I have done, since I began my training, everything I promised to do in my Chiropractic Oath, everything I signed up to do, when I became a regulated professional, all points to one thing – we are here, first and foremost, for our patients. Of course, we have to make a living, run a business and pay our staff and our service providers but we do all of these things in the context of that clear determination – to do the very best for our patients, to treat them well, in all senses, and to help them heal and be healthy. And so, it should come as no surprise to see the role of the BCA defined in terms of what you do, what motivates you and why, indeed, you became chiropractors in the first place. Our mission is to support you and your mission is to look after your patients. The new MISSION of the BCA is to be:

Continuing to build the home for chiropractors who put patients first

By making the BCA the home for patient-centred chiropractic and making the BCA the association which supports our patient-centred membership, we are taking for ourselves enormous power; this ‘brand power’ that our Repositioning project is giving us. This communicates our purpose and intentions on our behalf.

Armed with this Mission and Vision, we will no longer have to grasp at thin air, trying to find the words that exemplify our approach; they are already there. And from these, you too will be able to develop a common language between you and a well-rehearsed explanation of what you do and how it works for patients and this is why we should be integral to the healthcare system.

Catherine: “Our new brand is the move which the profession has been seeking for years. And it should come as no surprise because it came from you, our members. You recognised that there was a gap in recognition and appreciation, and the stakeholders echoed this sentiment loud and clear. This new position is simply the bridge that will take us from where we are, to where we should be. Whether you’re talking to a patient, a GP, a surgeon, a physio or a member of the media, the message is the same, simple and consistent – BCA chiropractors are here for their patients and the BCA supports those chiropractors to progress and develop, at every step, to fulfil their calling, with honour and integrity”.

And when we are asked how we are going to do that, there are four simple AIMS that fall from this.

Catherine: “I know this is a lot to take in; it’s a big change that’s going to happen and it’s my ambition as your President, to deliver on it. But please remember that there is, within this revolution, no revolution at all. We all knew that we were not universally respected and valued; you have told us that you want us to put this right. Our stakeholders also identified the problem, from their perspective; we are all saying the same thing. And at the same time, we all know why we do this job, we just haven’t spelled it out so clearly before. But now the BCA is poised to lead the profession forward. We have a solid structure, healthy finances, and we are now able, thanks to your clear feedback, to add a clear Vision and Mission to our overall strategy. And there is simply no limit to where this might take us. I hope you are all as excited as we are about the clear journey that lies ahead – to bring our profession to maturity and to receive the respect and admiration that it deserves.