In 2004, the chiropractors Jacob West and Jonas Loft opened their clinic in the centre of Copenhagen. Since then, the clinic has grown rapidly and today, it is Denmark’s largest chiropractic clinic. Its success and rapid growth is primarily the result of a unique working relationship with the general practitioners. A working relationship based on mutual respect and a common set of values.

The owners, Jacob West and Jonas Loft, have achieved great professional recognition for their pioneering work and are considered by colleagues, medical collaborators and the Danish Chiropractor’s Association (DCA) to be the spearheads of bridging the gap between physicians and chiropractors. Jacob West and Jonas Loft have successfully held seminars in how to establish, expand and maintain this type of cooperation for the benefit of chiropractics and the chiropractors in Denmark. Also addressed is “Why in particular it is important to change the attitude of the negative physicians if we are aiming towards better integration”. The same seminar is now being offered for the first time to our colleagues in the UK with a focus on their situation and challenges.

The challenge

Although the chiropractors in Denmark were authorised in 1992 and since 1994 have received authorised training at the University of Southern Denmark, the chiropractors have still not been fully integrated into the Danish healthcare system. This lack of recognition is primarily explained by the fact that the medical profession has found it difficult to accept us for historical and subjective reasons. This is confirmed by the former minister of health, Ms. Esther Larsen, who introduced the bill on authorisation of Danish chiropractors in 1992. “… It wasn’t particularly difficult for the bill to be approved by the Danish Parliament, our challenge was indeed the Danish physicians”. Unfortunately, now almost twenty years after, it is still the rule rather than the exception that most physicians and chiropractors do not cooperate.

Our mission

In 2004, we realized that this lack of cooperation was unacceptable, and that in spite of only few years of work as chiropractors, we had to be proactive and do something about the bad reputation of our profession. We knew for certain that our product was unique, and that the key to reach a common understanding and initiate a good working relationship across professional boundaries had to be found in a constructive dialogue. Six days after the start-up in March 2004, our mission was in place and our strategy formulated. Our mission included

  • A wish to provide professional diagnostics and evidence-based treatment of the disorders of the musculo-skeletal system at the highest professional level.

  • A wish to break the ice once and for all and to establish constructive working relationship with the GPs (in order for them to refer patients with disorders of the musculo-skeletal system to us).

In the autumn of 2004, six months after start-up of our clinic, we succeeded for the first time in making a presentation for 6 GPs. After the presentation, we received the following evaluations:

“Hi Jacob and Jonas. Thanks for your presentation, which is probably the best we have heard so far, everybody was pretty impressed. This is promising for our future collaboration and the patients we will have in common. The physicians attending were all from Vesterbro. We will definitely keep in contact. Once again, thank you for your efforts. Kind regards, Jesper Nielsen, GP, Vesterbrogade 82, 1620 Copenhagen K “

The 6 GPs mentioned above subsequently referred 110 patients to our clinic in only 2 months and each of them have since then referred up to 60 patients per year (among them even infants suffering from colic). Internally in the GP medical association, they speak favourably about us and recommend us as speakers. As a result, many other GP groups have contacted us throughout the past years for a presentation, new working relationships have been achieved, resulting in even more patients visiting our clinic. We are also proud to mention that several times, we have been awarded “Best Presentation of the Year” by the medical profession. Mission accomplished – Thanks to getting to speak to the GPs and the domino effect resulting from one presentation of 2 hours’ duration.

The reward

Since 2004, we have made presentations for more than 275 GPs and targeted our strategy and material in order to get our message through to them. Also, we have been added to the training of the young GPs of the Copenhagen Region, and have up until now trained more than 500 junior doctors in the wonders of chiropractics. A large majority of these future GPs, some of them being very dedicated, tell us that there is no doubt that they will cooperate with chiropractors in the future. New ambassadors for our profession have thus been born and will furthermore be instrumental in promoting the interdisciplinary collaboration, spread the knowledge of chiropractics and the competence of chiropractors all over Denmark many years ahead. Today, we have achieved a good working relationship with many GPs in Copenhagen and the Copenhagen suburban area and are considered to be the primary sector’s leading specialists within diagnostics, treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculo-skeletal system. The result is that we have filled a void for the GP, and the reward, apart from the recognition in line with other medical specialties, is large and substantiated by a drastic increase in new patients. Thanks to this unique cooperation with the GPs, we have beaten all records in only 5 years and have become Denmark’s largest chiropractic clinic.

Breaking the ice

Our colleagues, medical collaborators and the Danish Chiropractors’ Association consider us to be the pioneers and spearheads of this project, for which we have achieved great professional recognition. Therefore, in the fall of 2008, we decided that our insight into the GP set of values and needs should no longer be guarded as a locked-up trade secret. We discovered that our comprehensive collection of material and know-how could contribute to promoting chiropractics nationally as well as internationally if we could teach our colleagues to break down the barriers, communicate with and establish similar collaboration agreements with the local GPs. In connection with our preparation of a common set of values, GP Kim Kristiansen sent us the following unsolicited words:

“Dear Jacob and Jonas. Good luck in spreading your excellent concept. You are doing a great job, and I hope that the collaboration between GPs and chiropractors will continue its success – it has indeed been very helpful for us in our clinic, where we aim at providing the best treatment to our patients. Kind regards, Kim Kristiansen, Rosenørns Allé 41, 1970 Frederiksberg  C”

In the spring of 2009, we launched our training project “Westloft – A different approach”, in which interested colleagues were given the opportunity to buy our collection of material and our know-how. The seminar “Breaking the Ice” was sold as a one-day seminary at a price of EUR 1475.00 per attendant. Since then we have held a seminar every year.

The seminar is now being held for the first time in the UK and Canada targeted at UK and Canada conditions and challenges at an introductory price for Early birds. For further information about the seminar aims, topics and enrolment please see “Breaking the Ice”.

Kind regards

Jacob West and Jonas Loft