UK Christian doctor fears dismissal after investigation for sharing his faith
MARGATE, United Kingdom, June 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A veteran Christian doctor in the UK fears that he could lose his job as he faces an investigation for sharing his faith with a patient.
Dr. Richard Scott, 50, of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent has been threatened with an official warning by the country’s General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates the practice of medicine, after a patient accused him of speaking about Christ during an appointment rather than offering medical advice.
Though the body has offered the doctor a compromise, he is calling on them to instead reject the complaint outright, emphasizing that their own guidelines state that it is acceptable to present faith to a patient as long as it is done gently and sensitively. The 28-year veteran is committed to fighting the complaint and has sought assistance from the Christian Legal Centre, a legal firm committed to defending Christian freedom in the public square.
Scott says his decision to fight the complaint could put his job at risk. “But it is worth the risk as I wanted to do this because there is a bigger picture,” he told the Daily Mail. “I wanted to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession.”
“The GMC must not bow to political or emotional pressure in this case and should back [Scott] 100 per-cent, as he acted within their own guidelines, and his unblemished record should not be tarnished – even by a letter on his file,” said Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre.
Dr. Scott contends that he only discussed his faith at the end of a lengthy medical consultation, after exploring the various interventions that the patient had previously tried, and after promising to follow up the patient’s request for an appointment with other medical professionals.
He says he only discussed faith after obtaining permission from the patient. He expressed his belief that further counseling about the patient’s issues was unlikely to help and that there was, in fact, a spiritual aspect to the patient’s problems.
“In our conversation, I said that personally, I had found having faith in Jesus helped me and could help the patient,” said Dr. Scott, according to the Christian Legal Centre. “At no time did the patient indicate that they were offended, or that they wanted to stop the discussion. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation.”
Dr. Scott says he has talked about his faith with many patients over the years, and many of them have been encouraged.
Williams called it a “shame” that Dr. Scott would be reported for speaking his Christian faith. “What kind of society do we want to live in? A tolerant society where people are free to share their views?” she asked. “Or a society ruled by fear, where sharing your beliefs in a conversation could get you reported to the authorities? Dr Scott is allowed to share his faith under the GMC’s guidelines, and it is his faith which actually inspires him to do his job.”
“We have to challenge this culture of intolerance and political correctness and defend the right to freedom of speech, and the right to be open about one’s faith, not just behind the closed doors of a home, as some would like, but in the public sphere,” she added.
General Medical Council
350 Euston Road
London NW1 3JN.
Phone: +44 161 923 6602
E-mail: [email protected]