Dr Richard Scott, a GP in Margate is in the shit with the GMC because he has been causing distress to a patient by proselytising his christian beliefs.
At first sight it looks as though the GMC are up to their usual bullying tactics of harassing anyone who crosses their line of sight. What the previous CMO, in one of his rare episodes of perceptiveness, meant when he said, “the council causes distress to doctors over trivial complaints”. After all subjecting your patients to preaching, although distasteful, is hardly up there with shagging your patients, or killing them, or taking advantage of them financially.
But then if you look a little closer it is possible that there is more to this than is at first apparent. Firstly it is stated that all members of the Bethesda Medical Practice are christians. I have known a GP practice like this and the members unashamedly confirmed that when a vacancy arose only committed christians would be shortlisted. I am not sure if this is legal, but it shouldn’t be. My own view is that applicants for NHS posts should not even be asked their religion, any more than they should be asked their politics. And the vast majority of patients don’t expect or want religion introduced during a medical consultation. It simply isn’t appropriate.
Secondly Dr Scott admits to having had “a handful” of complaints before, which were resolved locally, so he is obviously in the habit of foisting his unwanted religious fervour on his captive patients. One wonders how many other patients have been offended by his approach but have not actually complained.
GMC good practice guidelines are quite clear on this. Paragraph 33 states “You must not express to your patients your personal beliefs, including political, religious or moral beliefs, in ways that exploit their vulnerability or that are likely to cause them distress.” I think that that is pretty clear and Dr Scott is indisputably in breach of this one.
So much as it pains me I have to side with the GMC on this one. These rules apply to us all and christians do not have an exemption. It’s a fair cop.