UK Agency Reopens Investigation Into Christian Doctor Accused of Praying With Patients Against Their Wishes

Kent GP Dr Richard Scott has said that he will continue to initiate conversations with patients about faith. Photograph: Pat Hurst/PA

A U.K. regulatory agency is reviewing its decision to close a complaint against a Christian doctor accused of violating professional conduct by praying with his patients. 

As previously reported, Dr. Richard Scott of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, faced the possibility of losing his medical license after a complaint was filed against him last year.

Scott, a general practitioner, was subject to a fitness-to-practice inquiry from the General Medical Council after a complaint was filed by the National Secular Society, a British advocacy group promoting the strict interpretation of separation of church and state.

The organization claimed that Scott made a vulnerable patient feel uncomfortable by praying. The allegation was made to NSS by a friend of the patient, not the patient.

The GMC determined last month after a three-month investigation that the complaint did not merit any action because there was “no evidence that [Dr. Scott] discusses faith in situations where the patient has stated that they do not wish to discuss these matters or that he has continued to discuss faith after a patient has indicated that they do not welcome such a discussion.”

At the time, Scott’s legal representatives from the Christian Legal Centre called the GMC decision to close his case “reassurance to Christian doctors and professionals across the U.K. that they can share their faith in the workplace … without fear of losing their jobs.”

However, the GMC changed its decision to close Scott’s case after the NSS challenged the closure of its complaint and submitted new evidence that Scott was “openly flouting the council’s code of conduct.”

The GMC confirmed to NSS that it is reviewing its decision in Scott’s case under Rule 12 of its fitness-to-practice rules. The rule allows for reconsideration if new information comes to light.

NSS’ challenge alleged that Scott’s patients have complained about religion being pushed on them.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith