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Doctor faces action over faith discussion


24 May 2011

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A doctor who discussed the benefits of religious faith with a patient faces disciplinary action over the matter, it has emerged.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is investigating committed Christian Dr Richard Scott over the incident.

The 50-year-old wants the complaint dismissed, but the GMC has suggested that he could be given an official warning.

The doctor has sought the assistance of a human rights lawyer, saying he acted within medical guidelines when he spoke to the patient last year.

A doctor who discussed the benefits of religious faith with a patient faces disciplinary action over the matter, it has emerged.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is investigating committed Christian Dr Richard Scott over the incident.

The 50-year-old wants the complaint dismissed, but the GMC has suggested that he could be given an official warning.

The doctor has sought the assistance of a human rights lawyer, saying he acted within medical guidelines when he spoke to the patient last year.

He said: “I only discussed my faith at the end of a lengthy medical consultation after exploring the various interventions that the patient had previously tried, and after promising to follow up the patient’s request appointment with other medical professionals.

“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. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation.

“This complaint was brought to the GMC not by the patient, who has continued to be a patient at this practice, but by the patient’s mother.”

Dr Scott works at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent. A statement on the NHS website says the centre’s six partners are all practising Christians whose “faith guides the way in which they view their work and responsibilities to the patients”.

It goes on to say that the doctors “feel that the offer of talking to you on spiritual matters is of great benefit”.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: “Doctors should not normally discuss their personal beliefs with 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.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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