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Christian Concern
World News

Praying doctor found not guilty but ‘overstepped the boundaries’ with patient, tribunal rules

by Heather Preston

A Christian doctor has been told he "overstepped the boundaries" while talking about religion and praying with a patient but was ultimately found not guilty of serious misconduct following a medical tribunal.

Dr Richard Scott, from Margate, shared his Christian faith with a vulnerable patient and held their hand in prayer, a tribunal of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has heard.

Scott, who has served as a medic since 1983, also gave the patient a Bible upon leaving Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent.

The 19-year-old patient, with a history of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), attended the medical practice with his mother in 2022 after experiencing symptoms of poor mental health.

Following his consultation, the teenager's mother filed a complaint against Dr Scott to NHS England.

The Manchester tribunal heard that the GP had decided against the use of anti-depressants for the patient and discussed counselling as a treatment option before asking for permission to take a "spiritual" approach to his issues.

The teenager told the committee he had felt "taken aback" and "uneasy" when Dr Scott began to speak about his Christian faith and a need to "reconnect" with God. Scott assured the tribunal he does not pressurise anyone into spiritual discussions but does "offer and encourage" the option to patients.

The tribunal found that while the patient did consent to a spiritual discussion, Dr Scott "overstepped the boundaries" into misconduct but "did not cross the high threshold required to be considered serious misconduct".

The tribunal will consider if Scott should receive a second warning letter. His first came after a similar incident in 2012 in which a patient accused the GP of pushing his religious views on him.

General Medical Council (GMC) guidance states that doctors may practise medicine in accordance with their beliefs, provided they do not cause distress to patients. They must not impose or express personal beliefs or values, including political, religious and moral beliefs, to patients in ways that exploit their vulnerability or are likely to cause them distress.


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