Christian doctor who offered to pray with patients was told to take £1,800 'professional boundaries' course

Dr Richard Scott(Photo: Christian Concern)

A Christian doctor who offered to pray with his patients is challenging disciplinary measures taken against him by the NHS.

Dr Richard Scott, 62, from Margate, was told he faced being barred from the NHS because of his offers to pray with some of his patients.

He was investigated by the NHS in 2020 and 2021, despite the General Medical Council (GMC) twice concluding that he had not breached guidelines.

After conducting its own inquiries, the NHS presented Dr Scott with a list of conditions for remaining on the NHS's National Performers List.

These included attending a £1,800 'professional boundaries' course at his own expense. If he refused to take the three-day course, he was told he would have to undergo a psychological assessment.

Dr Scott is challenging the conditions at a six-day hearing starting today.

He accused the NHS of "high-handed harassment and bullying" and said he was prepared to take the consequences of refusing to obey the orders.

He said there was a "deep intolerance in the NHS towards Christian beliefs" and a "complete lack of understanding of what prayer is and how it positively impacts people's lives".

Lawyers for Dr Scott argue that he has been subjected to "disproportionate" and "humiliating" treatment.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Dr Scott, said: "What business is it of NHS England to subject this hardworking doctor to intimidating investigations all to try and put an end to him offering prayer to his patients.

"Secular activists, whether campaign groups or those working within the NHS have been relentless in their pursuit of Dr Scott. It's time for this to end.

"There is no evidence that Dr Scott's practice of praying with his patients has in any way interfered with his delivery of excellent medicine – in fact, quite the opposite.

"At a time when there is widespread recognition that emotional and spiritual support play a significant role in physical healing, it is particularly distasteful to see NHS England picking on a Christian doctor appropriately offering that support." 

NHS England did not respond to a request for comment.