You may recall a story a week or two ago about a Margate GP, Dr Richard Scott, who was in trouble with the General Medical Council because he happened to discuss his Christian faith with a patient. The patient’s mother subsequently complained.
I did not expect to comment on this story. It seemed to me that a doctor, who happened to be a Christian, made an error of judgement. He shouldn’t really have been discussing his religion with a patient, but the GMC did seem to be overreacting a bit.
The first four links opposite to original stories and comment would basically support this conclusion. And it seems to be exactly the impression that Dr Scott wants us to have.
After listening to a report on BBC Radio4’s PM however, it seems that this story is not so simple, nor so innocent.
It seems the doctor concerned is linked to, and has been trained by, an organisation called International Health Services, who are in turn part of an American organisation called the 24-seven faith project.
These organisations run a training system called International Saline. According to their web home page : “International Saline is a training process that enables Christian healthcare professionals to share Christ’s love at the time of need, patient by patient”.
Here are some more quotes taken directly from the websites, they might explain something about where Dr Scott is really coming from.
“to impact patients for Christ by equipping medical professionals to model and share the reality of Jesus and His principles in their practices.”
”We will participate in the healthcare systems of the world in order to competently demonstrate Jesus’ love through compassionate help, servanthood and enablement. This is the heart of our ministry”
“We believe that the Bible is the inspired word and revelation of God. These Scriptures are our final authority in faith and conduct”
“We believe that the final destination of every person will be determined entirely by his or her relation to Jesus Christ. All who have truly accepted Christ will be kept to dwell with Him in heaven, perfect in every respect because of the presence of God. All who are not reconciled to God through Christ will be eternally separated from Him in hell. Followers of Jesus should therefore labor to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth and to demonstrate His love to those in need”
It is pretty clear that this is an international, evangelical, organisation, with rather fundamentalist views on biblical authority and heaven and hell.
Now Dr Scott may be a very nice person and a very good doctor but he has clearly been trained by an organisation who see medical consultations as the perfect opportunity to proselytise. It seems we are dealing with evangelists who happen to be doctors not doctors who happen to be Christians.
Dr Scott has every right to hold whatever religious beliefs he wants, but he has no right to abuse his position of power to evangelise his patients.
He also has no right to try to hide his connections to organisations with the evangelisation of patients as their stated aim.