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UK Doc Cleared of Wrongdoing for Sharing Faith, but Freedom of Christian Professionals Under Fire

12-16-2019
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A Christian doctor in the United Kingdom has been cleared of any wrongdoing after someone anonymously complained about him praying with patients.

Dr. Richard Scott, a general practitioner at the Bethesda Medical Center in Margate, Kent, was under investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) and the National Health Service (NHS).

The National Secular Society (NSS) claimed that someone "felt discomfort at the use of prayer" during a January 2019 radio interview that Scott participated in, according to Daily Mail.

"In June 2019, I heard from the GMC following a radio interview I did where I shared faith with patients and praying with patients," Scott said.

The letter he received from the GMC said preaching to patients is a personal belief and is in direct conflict with practicing medicine. 

Also, the letter noted that some of the statements he made during the radio show were against good medical practice.

"I share my faith with patients, where relevant and where I can. I was amazed that a ridiculous complaint could be taken seriously by the GMC. They should have thrown it out right from the beginning. In my view, this was poor, vexatious, unnecessary."

At the end of November, Scott received another letter from the GMC stating that there was no case. 

Scott said, "There was no first-hand accountable complaint from any patient."

Despite his victory, Scott worries about the younger generation of medical specialists who are fearful about standing up for their faith.

"We now have a generation of young doctors who are so scared to open their mouth to Jesus in case the NSS, GMC or anybody else complains. This is the climate we are now in and we really must stand up again these malignant voices who are not helping our doctors, students or nurses share their faith with people in times when we know it helps," he said.

"My practice remains unchanged, it made no difference to me and I carry on as before but with my eyes open to climate in which we live," Scott added.

But this isn't the first time Scott has received a complaint about sharing his faith.

"In 2010 I had a case in relation to sharing faith with a patient and the GMC claimed that I had harassed a vulnerable patient where my intention was to help someone who was very needy from an angle that maybe had not been approached before. Unsurprisingly, they found me guilty and gave me a five-year warning which ceased in June 2017."

Scott said the NSS is not only targeting him but "also the freedom of Christian professionals across the UK to share their faith in the workplace."

The evidence backs up that statement. CBN News reported in July about a Christian doctor from the UK who lost his job with the British government after refusing, hypothetically, to refer to "a six-foot-tall bearded man" as "madam."

Dr. David Mackereth had worked as an emergency doctor for the National Health Service for 26 years. He says he was removed from his job with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in late June 2018 after being "interrogated" about his personal religious convictions by his boss, James Owen. 

Mackereth said he would not use transgender pronouns and claimed during the hearing he was ultimately fired "not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge."

"I am a Christian and in good conscience cannot do what the DWP is requiring of me," Mackereth said.

Mackereth was represented by the Christian Legal Centre which says the court's ruling is a serious cause for concern.

"At the Christian Legal Centre, we are determined to continue to fight for justice in this case, not just for Dr. Mackereth and Bible-believing Christians, but for everyone who believes that we are born male and female," said Chief Executive Andrea Williams.

And in 2017, a Christian nurse was also fired after offering to pray with patients before surgery.

Sarah Kuteh had been a nurse for 15 years when she was dismissed from her job at Darent Valley Hospital in Britain after she spoke with patients about faith and prayer.

"All I had done was to nurse and care for patients. How could it ever be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?" she asked.

The National Health Service management claimed that Kuteh's discussions with patients were "inappropriate" and made some patients "feel uncomfortable."

But the nurse said she was only offering comfort and usually only brought up her Christianity if the patient initiated the conversation.

Attorney Pavel Stroilov said, "A nurse without compassion would be unworthy of the name. On top of performing her immediate duties, a good nurse would try and find words to say to her patient."

According to a July 2018 study in the AMA Journal of Ethics, "the majority of patients believe that spiritual care by physicians is important."

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