A Christian doctor has reached an agreement with NHS England after he was threatened with disciplinary measures for offering to pray with patients.
Dr Richard Scott, a GP who practices at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, was set to contest a ruling by the NHS on Monday, at a hearing at Ashford Tribunal Centre.
But the planned hearing was called-off last minute following a settlement between the two parties.
“I am relieved that NHS England has agreed to settle the case, but it never should have come to this,” Dr Scott said.
The settlement ends a legal battle that began in 2019 after the National Secular Society said an anonymous patient had felt “discomfort at the use of prayer" by Dr Scott during a visit to the GP.
He was then cleared of wrongdoing by several investigations carried out by the General Medical Council but the NHS continued measures in a separate inquiry.
Consequently, the 62-year-old was ordered to undergo a £1800 "professional boundaries", often used for professionals who face sexual allegations, but he refused to undertake it.
NHS England argued the course was applicable as it covers a "wide range of professional boundaries."
Now, NHS England lawyers have agreed that Dr Scott is free to offer to pray and to pray with patients if he does so within agreed General Medical Council guidance.
In return, Dr Scott agreed, that he would attend a £500 one-day course related to professional boundaries.
Responding to the outcome, Dr Scott said: “The course they tried to force me to go on was essentially aimed at sexual miscreants and fraudsters. There was nothing that I could see was relevant to me. I was outraged.
“Sadly I have seen a deep intolerance from some parts of the NHS towards Christian beliefs and a complete lack of understanding of what prayer is and how it positively impacts people’s lives.
“Imposing the course on me was always power trip with the aim of humiliating and pressurising me. The toll on me and my family over the past few years has been immense and I hope the matter is now finally closed.
“I hope this outcome acts as an encouragement to other Christian professionals that it is more than ok to share your faith and that freedom is worth fighting for."