Every year the British Chiropractic Association holds its autumn conference in September, and this year it was at the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (WIOC) at the University of South Wales. It is an opportunity to meet colleagues and attend a series of interesting lectures. This year there were lectures about ‘the patient’s Journey’. It was great to hear really inspirational individuals discussing how they manage their patients to ensure that they get the best outcomes from Chiropractic care. There are numerous ways to crack a nut, and hearing how others do it is very informative. I have been practicing for over 30 years and was pleased to come away having been exposed to some really interesting new ideas, and had many of my existing approaches endorsed. It is also great to listen to real enthusiasm about, and commitment to, a profession that I am very proud to be a part of. There were two researchers whose talks were typically packed with facts and figures. One talked about the evidence behind the tools that we have in our kit bag. Chiropractic is not a treatment, it is a profession, and the treatments that we use combine to form the care that we provide. Each element of that care is evidence based and supported by good research. To have that clearly explained, and the supporting evidence highlighted, was really helpful and maintains confidence in what we are doing. One of the lecturers was a leading researcher from Southampton University, and the other an Orthopaedic Consultant who talked about Osteoporosis; its causes, presentation and treatment. It is something that is becoming more of an issue as more of us live for longer and he was an enthusiast for the chiropractic approach of encouraging movement and activity. As a profession we have worked tirelessly to improve our understanding of what we do and why it works, and increasingly the medical establishment are now endorsing what we do and referring patients to us. That can only be a good thing for us and for our patients.
As always, I had a series of meetings to discuss various aspects of the organisation and politics of the profession. I am no longer in the forefront of the political sphere, but as President of the Royal College of Chiropractors there is still a lot of networking to be done. It is a really good opportunity to share ideas with colleagues, and having been involved myself for most of my career in the politics of the profession it is flattering to be asked for my opinion by the new generation of leaders. It is also a great chance to bounce new ideas off the decision makers in the hope that we might be able to expand the profession and make Chiropractic care available to more people. I am involved in a very exciting initiative to develop new Chiropractic programs in established Medical Schools and Universities around the country. We hope to have two new courses starting in September 2018 and this was a perfect opportunity to tell colleagues about that initiative and the progress to date. As part of a fund raising drive to support this program I shall be riding a bicycle from Bath to Paris next summer and I will probably try to persuade as many of my patients as possible to sponsor me; more on that next year!
After a full day of lectures and conversations we retired to The Vale Resort for a Gala Dinner, black tie and dancing to an interesting but very loud local band. They were very good but I did not stick it out to the bitter end I have to admit. The course at WIOC started 20 years ago, when I was President of the BCA, and I was very much involved in the negotiations to persuade the University to start the program, and then in the recruitment drive for staff. Many of the original faculty are still there, and the original course leader, Dr Susan King, was over from her home in New Zealand to celebrate. The speeches after the dinner focussed on the last 20 years of development of the course, the characters involved and the ambitions for the future. There was a very warm feeling about the whole occasion and it felt very good to have been part of a real success story. They have plans to double the number of students to nearly 200 in the next few years, which is very ambitious, but it shows great confidence in the Chiropractic profession on the part of the University.
Muskuloskeletal (MSK) issues are an increasing problem in the western world with one in five GP consultations relating to them, and most of those relate to back pain. Something that over 90% of adults will experience in their lives as we are more and more sedentary, and that is not good for our spines. Modern lifestyles are unlikely to change for the better so there is a real need for more MSK specialists in order to deal with what can easily be described as a 21st century epidemic, and for which there are some simple solutions. We therefore need more Chiropractors and it is clear from this conference that the profession is now aware of that. We are ready to do something about it and the educators are now thinking that way as well. It is a great career for a young person to consider, and hopefully the choice of places to study will soon increase. At Dixon Health we are always happy to have people in to learn a bit more about a career in Chiropractic, so if you know any young people or people looking for a career change have them get in touch.
I had a very good weekend and came away energised for both the work I do and the challenges ahead, not bad for a wet weekend in the Rhonda Valley!
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