Kent

Margate GP Dr Richard Scott 'disgusted' with GMC

A Christian GP who asked a patient if he had considered faith in Jesus has said he is "disgusted" with medical watchdogs for investigating him.

The General Medical Council (GMC) was told Dr Richard Scott, whose surgery is in Margate, had "crossed the line".

The 51-year-old GP is accused of breaching guidelines on discussing personal beliefs with a patient.

The hearing has been adjourned for another attempt to be made to persuade the patient to attend.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Scott said: "I'm actually not only disappointed, I'm disgusted with my professional body.

"The reason we are defending this case is not just my own position but other Christians have increasingly recently been under attack for their faith at work."

During the first day of the hearing in Manchester on Thursday, the investigation committee heard that Dr Scott discussed his own personal religious beliefs after the patient told him to "go for it".

He went on to suggest the patient might benefit from a Christian faith above his own religion.

Very upset

Patient A, whose identity has not been made public, had decided not to attend the hearing and his religious affiliation has not been made public.

Paul Ozin, counsel for the GMC, said the patient, who was seen at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate in August 2010, was left very upset, felt Dr Scott had belittled his own faith and made a complaint.

Under GMC rules, doctors are not allowed to impose personal or religious beliefs on patients and, if such issues are raised, it must be done in a "sensitive and appropriate" manner.

Paul Diamond, counsel for Dr Scott, said the GP did not accept the "portrayal of events" or that the young man was a vulnerable patient.

Image caption The consultation took place at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate

"Towards the end of the consultation, for a matter of minutes, Dr Scott made his professional judgment that matters of religious faith were appropriate to talk about in the context of this young man.

"Issues of religion were discussed. I don't think there is any dispute that it is permissible within the guidance provided by the GMC.

"The only question is was it appropriate and sensitive?"

The GMC Investigation Committee has no power to put any restriction on Dr Scott's practice of medicine, but could issue a warning.

In a statement adjourning the hearing, the GMC recommended that the case be "brought forward within a reasonable timeframe".

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