An NHS doctor who is reported to have discussed Christianity ‘thousands of times’ with patients is being investigated next week by the General Medical Council (GMC), the regulatory body for doctors, following a complaint made earlier this year. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has said that doctors have a duty of care to patients that does not include proselytising.
Dr Richard Scott, a former missionary and a lay preacher, has opted to have an oral hearing which is open to the public and the media, beginning in Manchester on 22 September. The GMC has stated that its Investigations Committee ‘will consider whether it is appropriate to issue Dr Scott with a warning in light of his alleged inappropriate expression of religious beliefs during a consultation, which distressed his patient’ and also stated that ‘It is further alleged that Dr Scott subsequently confirmed, via national media, that he had sought to suggest his own faith had more to offer than that of the patient.’
BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented, ‘The GP’s surgery is surely a place where the needs and rights of the patients must be paramount. A doctor’s personal religious beliefs, however deeply held, are not medical care and clearly should not become part of the service that they provide to the community. In this particular case it seems that a patient was so distressed by the discussion or imposition of religion during his consultation with this doctor that he complained about his experience. The duty of care that a doctor or other medical practitioners have towards patients does not include proselytising. We will be following this case closely as it is investigated.’
For further comment or information contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.