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Christian Concern
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Christian Concern
World News

Tribunal to hear case of Christian GP threatened with NHS expulsion over prayer with patients

by Premier Journalist

A tribunal in Kent has started a six-day hearing in the case of a Christian doctor who was been placed under disciplinary measures for offering to pray with his patients. 

In 2019, the General Medical Council (GMC) launched an investigation against Dr Richard Scott after the National Secular Society (NSS) raised concerns about him praying with his patients. 

It argued that a "highly vulnerable" anonymous patient felt "discomfort at the use of prayer" by Dr Scott during a consultation at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent. 

However, following several investigations by the GMC in 2019 and in 2020, the council concluded Dr Scott had not breached any of its guidelines and that "discussion of faith in consultations is not prohibited". 

But his legal fight continued as the NHS England sustained a separate inquiry and ordered Dr Scott to attend a £1800 "professional boundaries" course designed for medical professionals who face sexual allegations. He was asked to pay for it himself. 

NHS England said the course is applicable as it covers a "wide range of professional boundaries". 

Dr Scott refused to undergo the three-day course arguing NHS bosses were trying to "humiliate" him.  

Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Dr Scott has started to make his case at a tribunal hearing in Kent. 

He faces being barred from NHS Performers Lists, a list of approved GPs, opticians and dentists who satisfy a range of criteria necessary for working in the NHS.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "Dr Scott is a highly experienced doctor whose life and career has been committed to serving his patients and community."

"What business is it of NHS England to subject his hardworking doctor to intimidating investigations all to try and put an end to him offering prayer to his patients.

"Secular activists, whether campaign groups or those working within the NHS have been relentless in their pursuit of Dr Scott. It's time for this to end.

"There is no evidence that Dr Scott's practice of praying with his patients has in any way interfered with his delivery of excellent medicine - in fact, quite the opposite," she continued. 

In 2012, Dr Scott faced similar criticism and received a warning from the GMC for evangelising to patients.

Premier has contacted NHS England for comment.

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