A Christian doctor faces being struck off after offering consensual prayer to some of his patients.
Dr Richard Scott is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) after the National Secular Society (NSS) raised "concern" that he "continues to proselytise to patients."
Despite no formal complaint being made against Richard, the GMC has now begun a fitness to practice investigation.
The GMC, which acts as the independent regulator for doctors in the UK, is instead acting on second hand information it received in a letter from the National Secular Society (NSS).
The NSS letter tenuously claims that:
"At the beginning of January, we were contacted by a member of the public who was concerned because an acquaintance whom she describes as “highly vulnerable” is being treated at the practice. This patient “does not feel able to express discomfort at the use of prayer.” Additionally, “It is not possible for this patient to raise the matter formally at this time, or to change GP practice.”
The NSS letter also cited a BBC Radio 4 interview that Richard had done on our behalf, called The Battles That Won Our Freedoms: 3, Freedom of Religion.
In the interview, Richard explains how he offers to talk about "the idea of faith" in some of his consultations with patients, where he feels it appropriate. He assured that prayer is always offered as an addition to standard medical procudures.
Targeted by secularists
This is not the first time that Richard has been targeted by the NSS.
In 2012, the Christian Legal Centre supported Richard when he was issued with a warning by the GMC for sharing his faith with a patient at the end of a private consultation. The NSS encouraged the proceedings and handed transcripts of evidence to the GMC detailing Richard's appearances on radio and television where he had defended himself.
However, Richard pointed out that the investigation conducted against him in 2012 was "highly irregular", and none of his other patients had complained. "The one patient quoted by the NSS stands in stark contrast to the great majority of the 19,000 patients" served by the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, he added.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre commented on Richard's case:
"We should be deeply troubled when the medical regulatory body commences an investigation against an excellent and experienced doctor based purely on hearsay evidence from an anti-Christian campaigning organisation.
"Let’s be in no doubt how sinister this is."
There has been no formal complaint made to the General Medical Council either by the so-called vulnerable person or her acquaintance. Instead, the acquaintance approached an activist body known for its militant anti-Christian campaigning.
"For the NSS to conclude that Richard is evangelising on an insubstantial basis illustrates its anti-Christian agenda. There are no substantive details of what happened. The GMC should be protecting Richard and his beliefs, according to their own guidance, not discriminating against him on the basis of hearsay evidence."
26 Jun 2019