In the UK, when you decide to expand your basic medical qualification into a speciality, you pretty much have to join one of the various “colleges” of magic. I mean Medicine.
Many of these are tried and tested fields with long histories. The Royal Colleges of Radiology, Surgery, Anasthesia, Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynaecology… You get the drill…
The Royal Charter is an indicator of the service these bodies provide in training a generation of new doctors in their specialties. It is a global stamp of approval so widely sought out that people in many third world nations qualify for these colleges and sit their exams to display proudly as a “qualification”. In short?
To be a Fellow is an achievement. To be a Member of these Colleges is a major goal for many young doctor not just in the UK but across the globe.
So it hurts to find out that even the quacks have their Royal Charter. The Royal College of Chiropractic is the newest such institution to receive the charter in the UK. Well not as much as it hurts patients. You see, the Royal Charter is a stamp of approval of something that is either a product that is excellent and is therefore endorsed by the Royal Family or an institution that has done stellar service to the country.
Chiropractic has not been proven to work and has a wide variety of issues of side effects such as neural deficit (because if you faff around cracking bones you can actually put serious pressure on a nerve). A simple little experiment. Your median nerve is quite exposed. Bang your elbow against the table. Is it pleasant? Nope. Yet you are telling me the relatively violent “back cracks” somehow stimulate your spinal cord in a healthy way? We know what happens when you touch a nerve. It’s painful or something goes badly wrong. Very badly wrong.
I think what really gets to me is what I wish to specialise in. I am deeply interested in the art of Emergency Medicine.
The College of Emergency Medicine trains the young men and women in the skills to work in A&E/Casualty wards and OPs across the country. They are the men and women who treat everything and bridge the gap between surgeon and medic. In a new initiative there is also a register of “International” responders who are trauma specialists who respond to global catastrophes.
The College of Emergency Medicine does not have a Royal Charter.