Dr. Richard Scott / Photo Courtesy of Christian Concern
CNA Newsroom, Sep 30, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).
A Christian doctor from Kent, United Kingdom, has appealed to Christians in professional life to “stand up and fight” after he faced investigation for offering his patients “spiritual care.”
A tribunal between the National Health Service (NHS) England and Dr. Richard Scott, who is based at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, was canceled earlier this week after it was agreed that Scott would instead attend a one-day course on “professional boundaries” because a number of patients had complained about him offering spiritual support.
Scott told CNA that he agreed to the course as a “goodwill gesture” and that it was crucial for him that it was understood that there was “no guilt attached” on the grounds that he had been acting within the guidelines of the General Medical Council and according to the European Convention on Human Rights and religious expression.
Following the resolution, Scott said that he was pleased with the outcome, which held “huge significance” for religious freedom, and added: “I want Christians to toughen up in this country because prayer is hugely beneficial and makes a huge difference to people’s health, and it shouldn’t be controversial. We need to stand up and fight.”
He went on to say that Christians were increasingly being “marginalized for their faith.”
“I fought this case because I want to encourage other Christians to share their faith in the workplace when it is relevant and not to be cowed by professional organizations. We have good news that we should be able to speak into, which is in line with the GMC guidelines and the ECHR Articles 9 and 10, to manifest your religion.”
Scott went on to say that the complaints about his approach had come after patients had consented to a conversation about faith and that he always followed an established process, ensuring that patients consented first to discussions concerning spiritual care.
A spokesperson for NHS England in the South East told ITV News: “NHS England has reached an agreement with Scott for his appeal to be withdrawn without an admission of liability. Any spiritual care in Scott’s consultations must be in accordance with GMC guidance, and Dr. Scott has agreed to attend a one-day Professional Boundaries Course within three months.”
When asked if he would continue to offer his patients spiritual care, Scott told CNA that he would.