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General Medical Council to continue case against Christian doctor

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A GMC Investigatory Committee has decided today (23 September) to continue to pursue the case against Dr Richard Scott, the Kent GP accused by a patient of sharing his faith in a one-to-one consultation, despite the witness not being at the hearing and showing an ‘unconditional disinclination to attend’.

The case has now been temporarily adjourned by the GMC's Investigatory Committee whilst another attempt is made to get the complainant to attend. With no witness at the hearing this week, Dr Scott was not able to cross-examine and challenge the evidence of the complainant on what was allegedly said between the two individuals in the consulting room.

Concerns have been raised that without the chance to cross-examine, any doctor would be made extremely vulnerable to allegations. Almost every GP in the land sees patients in private and if the GMC allows its members to face disciplinary procedures on the un-examined allegations of patients or relatives, then all GPs would be denied the basic principle of challenging accusations against them. Cross-examination is a fundamental principle of a fair trial.

Standing Counsel to the Christian Legal Centre, Paul Diamond, called for the case to be stayed on the grounds of an abuse of process. However, the GMC has now decided to continue to pursue the case, with or without the witness. The Committee required the GMC to seek to bring the witness; and the case has now been adjourned so that such attempts can be made.

Dr Scott said:  

“As a doctor registered with the GMC, I look to my professional body to act with the same professional standards that any court in this land would. I am astounded that the GMC are continuing to pursue this allegation on the basis of hear-say evidence from a witness that will not turn up. This case should have been struck-out, but the GMC appears to be determined to pursue this.” 

“I cannot imagine that any court in the land would act like this, and so on behalf of every GP I must insist that proper professional standards on cross examination be adopted in all disciplinary hearings.  Without it, a fair ‘trial’ is impossible and every GP is left totally vulnerable to any accusation.”

Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, added:

“It appears that the GMC is determined to punish Dr Scott despite there being no witness and the complaint only being made after encouragement from the complainant’s mother. An experienced GP has spent 48 hours in an aborted disciplinary hearing in Manchester when he could and should be helping his patients in Kent. 

“The procedures of the GMC in this case are ones which every GP in the land should be concerned about as their future and reputation now seems to be able to be challenged by hearsay allegations with no opportunity to cross examine in order that a panel can make a just decision.”

If the GMC decides to proceed with the case then Dr Scott will consider a judicial review of the actions of the GMC for the protection of all GPs in the UK.


Christian Legal Centre: Dr Scott