British Doctor reprimanded for talking of Christian faith
A doctor in the U.K. might lose his job and his medical license because he talked about his Christian faith with a patient.
Dr. Richard Scott is one of six partners at Bethesda Medical Center, Margate. All the partners are Christian, and they have been open about this. Scott received a formal complaint from the General Medical Council because he told a 24-year-old patient that praying to Jesus could help him out of a difficult condition that he is in, NY Daily News said.
The complaint was filed by the patient’s mother, who has accused Scott of taking advantage of her son’s vulnerability by trying to push his religion on him, the NY Daily News said. The GMC is charged with regulating all British doctors.
Scott, 50, is a former missionary. His record as a doctor has been unblemished—until now. He said the conversation about Jesus only came as the consultation was coming to a close, and he did so with the permission of the patient.
Scott told NY Daily News, “I only discussed mutual faith after obtaining the patient’s permission. In our conversation I said that, personally, I had found having faith in Jesus helped me and could help the patient. At no time did the patient indicate that they were offended, or that they wanted to stop the discussion.”
Scott told NY Daily News that if the patient complained at the time, “I would have immediately ended the conversation.” He has decided to fight the GMC censure. In doing so he may lose his medical license, and this would spell the end of a 28-year profession, according to The New American.
In recalling the conversation Scott said the patient was “in a rut and in need of help.” Scott said the medical consultation was lengthy, during which he discussed various possible interventions, all of which the patient had already tried, The New American said.
The patient had requested consultation with other medical professionals, and Scott promised he would follow up those requests, The New American said.
The GMC complaint said Scott “harassed a vulnerable patient.” Scott said, “Absolutely not. I’ve offered a needy patient a way out of his situation,” according to The New American.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of GMC said doctors must not proselytize or talk about religion with their patients, “unless those beliefs are directly relevant to the patient’s care. They also must not impose their beliefs on patients, or cause distress by the inappropriate or insensitive expression of religious, political or other beliefs or views,” the NY Daily News reported.
Scott decided not to accept the complaint as it would remain on his record for any future employer to see. “What’s happened to me is an injustice and I want to stand up for Christians who have been getting hammered in the workplace.” The Christian Legal Center is taking charge of his case, The New American said.
Andrea Williams of CLC said Scott, “acted within their own guidelines, and his unblemished record should not be tarnished — even by a letter [in] his file,” The New American reported.
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet told BBC News, “[M]onitoring and then sanctioning doctors on conversations with patients, that do not relate to their medical condition, must be a matter between the individuals and dealt with locally. The GMC has over-reacted and needs to put an end to misplaced activism that is putting a respected doctor’s profession on the line.”
Other Christian doctors have also rallied behind Scott. Dr. Peter Saunders of Christian Medical Fellowship told NY Daily News, “All good doctors try to treat their patients as whole persons, not just biochemical machines. That does sometimes include spiritual matters, dealing with questions of meaning and purpose.”