Dr Richard Scott

Dr. Richard Scott. Image source.

by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

A doctor in the UK  is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) because a complaint was made against him for praying with his patients.

Dr. Richard Scott is a General Practitioner at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent.

Dr. Scott states that he only prays with about one out of every 40 patients, and that he always asks for their permission first. Of those he asks, about 90% accept, and the ones who do not, he respects their right to refuse.

The complaint to the General Medical Council was allegedly not made by any of his patients, but by an “acquaintance” of one of his patients, who then worked with The National Secular Society (NSS) to lodge the complaint.

The NSS allegedly wrote that a “highly vulnerable patient” was uneasy with the use of prayer during a consultation. NSS chief executive Stephen Evans reportedly confirmed that the complaint came from someone known to the patient rather than the patient themselves.

According to KentOnline, The Bethesda Medical Centre’s website:

sets out the religious ethos of its doctors and explains many are “practising Christians from a variety of churches and their faith guides the way in which they view their work and responsibilities to patients and employees”.

It adds: “Partners feel that the offer of talking to you on spiritual matters is of great benefit. If you do not wish this, that is your right and will not affect your medical care.

“Please tell the doctor or practice manager if you do not wish to speak on matters of faith.”

Screens placed in the waiting area also inform patients about the faith doctors at the practice use in their consultations.

Dr. Scott reportedly attends St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville, and says he is shocked a formal investigation by the GMC is taking place rather than a discussion about the complaint.

The GMC reportedly stated that:

it has “a duty to investigate” when questions are raised about “a doctor’s ability to practise safely or threaten public confidence.” (Source.)

This is not Dr. Scott’s first time being investigated by the GMC.

In 2010, Dr. Scott allegedly suggested to a suicidal patient that religion might do more to help him than medication.

Dr. Scott was also fighting for his own life that year after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, and undergoing painful surgery, radiation and two rounds of chemotherapy.

“The man was depressed, and had left his own faith. So I told him, ‘You may find that Christianity offers you something that your own faith did not.’ His mother complained that I was forcing my religion down his throat.” (Source.)

The GMC gave him an official warning in 2012 for discussing his faith with a patient and the warning lasted five years on his record.

In 2013, Dr. Scott wrote a book about his battle with cancer from perspectives of both his medical and religious beliefs.

The case of Dr. Richard Scott raises the ages old question: Who has the authority to heal?

Should a ruling class of licensed professionals be given sole authority to heal, while prosecuting anyone else outside of this class who dares to practice healing?

This is a question that has plagued humanity for thousands of years.

Read about a revolutionary figure who lived over 2000 years ago and dared to question the authority of the ruling class to heal people, at the cost of his life:

The Authority to Heal

Sources for this Article:

Margate doctor under investigation by General Medical Council after complaint about discussing God during appointments – KentOnline.co.uk

Christian doctor faces new investigation over prayer with patients – Premier.org.uk

Christian GP fighting for his job had prayed to God for a challenge – Telegraph.co.uk