Friday, September 23, 2011

Christian GP fights for job after asking 'suicidal' patient about his faith

A doctor accused of ‘inappropriately’ discussing his devout Christian faith during a consultation with a patient yesterday launched a legal battle to avoid being struck off.

Dr Richard Scott, 51, appeared before a disciplinary hearing after allegedly talking to the patient about Jesus in a way the General Medical Council described as ‘insensitive, exploitative and inappropriate’. The GMC heard Dr Scott had ‘crossed the line’ by allegedly suggesting the ‘suicidal and vulnerable’ patient could be helped by Christianity rather than his own faith.

The married GP is one of six Christian partners at a medical centre which states on its website that spiritual matters are likely to be discussed with patients during consultations.

But yesterday Dr Scott, who was educated at Cambridge, began a fight to clear his name after the mother of one of his patients complained he had tried to foist his faith on her son.

Dr Scott refused to accept a formal warning, instead choosing to go to a full hearing. He claims he acted professionally and within the GMC guidelines, but if he loses he could be struck off.

The incident allegedly happened in August 2010, when the 24-year-old patient visited him at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent. Dr Scott, who used to be a medical missionary in Tanzania and India, says he gave the patient a full medical consultation, but felt he needed help to get out of a rut.

So at the end of the appointment, he began talking about his own Christian belief, saying it could give him ‘comfort and strength’. But afterwards, the 24-year-old told his mother ‘he just said I need Jesus’, prompting her to file a complaint.

Paul Ozin, counsel for the GMC, said: ‘A line was crossed because Dr Scott expressed his personal religious belief to a person who he knew was a vulnerable patient in a way that was plainly liable to cause the patient distress. ‘He suggested Jesus or Christianity – his own religion – offered something exclusive and superior to that offered by the patient’s own religion.’

The professional body placed an official warning on Dr Scott’s file as a ‘compromise’. But the GP, a doctor for 28 years, is calling on the GMC to strike out the complaint because it was made by the patient’s mother. Dr Scott claims she is not qualified to comment on what treatment a medical practitioner should prescribe her son.

Yesterday the hearing was told that the unnamed patient had been asked to attend the medical tribunal to testify against the GP, but he had not turned up because he was suffering from anxiety.

Lawyers are now arguing whether the panel can accept his written statement. Mr Ozin says it would be ‘unfair’ to call the witness when he is ‘ill’, but Dr Scott’s lawyer said he cannot defend himself properly if the man does not attend.

In an interview last May Dr Scott, a lay preacher, said: ‘I only discussed mutual faith after obtaining the patient’s permission. ‘In our conversation, I said that personally, I had found having faith in Jesus helped me and could help the patient. At no time did the patient indicate that they were offended, or that they wanted to stop the discussion. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation.’

Dr Scott, whose wife Heather, 50, is also a doctor, said: ‘By appealing against the decision, it will go to a public hearing. But it is worth the risk as I wanted to do this because there is a bigger picture. ‘I wanted to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession.’

The case continues.


Busybody British Council bans NHS worker from living in her parents' garden while she saves up mortgage deposit

As most first-time buyers will tell you, getting on the property ladder these days is a minor miracle. The first major hurdle is getting enough money together for a deposit.

With this in mind, Victoria Campbell and her boyfriend came up with a cunning plan to save cash more quickly – they moved into a rent-free garden shed. And the idea might have succeeded, but for Miss Campbell's local council which has ruled that the structure does not provide 'adequate living conditions' and creates an 'undesirable precedent'.

Officials have given her and Bill Warden, 26, nine months to move out or face a fine.

NHS care worker Miss Campbell, 20, and Mr Warden have been living in the shed in Miss Campbell's parents' back garden in Havant, Hampshire, since last September. They had hoped to save around £20,000 for a deposit on a house within around five years. Miss Campbell makes £7.80 an hour in her job and Mr Warden is a £20,000 a year senior care assistant at a private home.

Miss Campbell said: 'My dream is to live in a three-bedroom home with Bill and start a family but it is so difficult to get on the property ladder these days. 'My parents have one spare room in their house but it is barely big enough to fit a single bed, so it is no use to us.

'I don't want to rent because it feels like we are throwing money away when we could be paying off our debts and saving. Living in a shed seemed like a perfect idea. 'I don't understand why the council are trying to make us move out. If they force us out, we will be homeless and the shed will remain anyway. 'Before we put it up we wrote to all neighbours within a 30-metre radius and did not receive a single complaint.'

The shed is 15ft by 15ft, has double-glazed windows and is heated by one oil radiator. It has no running water but draws electricity from the Campbell family's main three-bedroom terraced house. The couple sleep on a fold-down sofa and eat their meals and wash in the main house.

Having had her retrospective application to use the shed as accommodation refused, Miss Campbell is now trying to get temporary permission with the help of consultants made up of former local authority planning officers.

Havant councillor Paul Buckley said the authority had been 'sensitive' to Miss Campbell's circumstances. He said: 'Although planning permission was refused by the committee, it was resolved that a generous compliance period of nine months should be observed to allow Miss Campbell to find alternative accommodation.'


Conservative UK: Most Britons still oppose gay marriage

Most people still oppose gay marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples, a Government report revealed yesterday. More than half believe homosexual marriages should not be allowed and two thirds think the adoption of children by same-sex couples should not have become legal nine years ago.

The findings from the Office for National Statistics suggest the Coalition’s plans to upgrade civil partnership laws to let gay couples describe themselves as married may prove unpopular.

Lib Dem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said last week that to deny marriage to same-sex couples was ‘simply not fair’.

But the ONS findings show many Britons still cling to conservative values and suggest Miss Featherstone’s claim that the UK is ‘a world leader in gay rights’ only applies to a minority of the population.

The report, based on sources including the annual British Social Attitudes survey and research by the EU’s Eurobarometer research arm, said only 45 per cent of British people agree that ‘homosexual marriages should be allowed throughout Europe’.

Christian groups oppose the idea on the grounds that it undermines the rights of married couples and their children. The ONS findings suggest they may command majority support.

The report shows support for adoption by gay couples is even lower. Adoption of children by same-sex couples was made possible by Tony Blair’s 2002 Adoption Act. Since Labour’s 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, at least ten Roman Catholic adoption agencies have ceased trying to find families for children because the law now compels them to consider offering children to gay couples.

The law, however, is out of step with opinion, the ONS report found. It put support in Britain for the proposition that ‘adoption of children should be authorised for homosexual couples throughout Europe’ at only 33 per cent, with two thirds opposed.

The ONS report said: ‘While the majority of British people now accept the concept of same-sex couples as being rarely wrong, or not wrong at all, fewer people approve of same-sex couples adopting children.

‘On average females have more liberal attitudes to same-sex partnerships than males.’ Civil partnerships for same-sex couples were first registered at the end of 2005, giving a gay couple the same legal rights as married couples.

The process for dissolution of a civil partnership is identical to the legal process of divorce. But gay couples may not describe their partnership as a marriage.

The report said the number of civil partnerships being registered has declined after an initial rush when many couples who wanted to put their relationship on a legal footing took advantage of the new law. There are around 1,000 civil partnerships each year. One in 14 of the couples have children, most of whom are adopted or were born in a previous marriage or relationship.


Broadcasters must hand over UK riot footage to police

BRITAIN'S major TV networks were forced to hand over hundreds of hours of footage of England's August riots to cops after being served with court orders.

The BBC, Sky and ITN handed over the unbroadcast footage but voiced concern that staff covering future disorder could be attacked if people thought they would give evidence to the police.

Police forces can obtain production orders under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. A judge must weigh the interest of the police against the public interest of a free press.

Sky News said, "Our standard policy is that we do not supply material to the police without a court order. On occasions - as has happened with some of our footage of the riots - where police request untransmitted material and an order is obtained we will comply with it".

The BBC confirmed that it was obeying the court order. "Police requests for BBC untransmitted material are dealt with through our legal department, regardless of the subject matter. We require requests for untransmitted material to be made through the courts."

An ITN spokesperson said, "ITN's policy is that we do not release unbroadcast material to police. On some occasions when the police apply to a judge for a court order to force the release of such material, we have challenged the police's application."

A spokeswoman for the Met said, "The police are identifying people through pictures, CCTV and through the media to ensure that people are brought to justice. We would ask the media to work with the police to ensure that happens."

The Metropolitan Police has already made more than 2,500 arrests and are still examining thousands of hours of CCTV footage.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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