Saturday, September 24, 2011

Doctor Crossing the Line

gods viewFollowing a complaint to the GMC that Dr Scott from the Bethesda Medical Centre,  Margate, bought Jesus into the conversation during a consultation has been interpreted as “crossing the line”.

Exactly what that line might be is beyond me, in these days of multiculturalism, we/us have to celebrate/respect/endure all kinds of belief/culture systems, myself I believe in equality/fairness/honesty and (irrationally) Santa.

I can imagine, how disconcerting it must be for a patient, to have a doctor who is able to depart from the normal brusque conversation, of the average medic, and to expand into theological areas but so what, just nod and say nothing keep calm (it will be alright).

As a cynic I can get by, without some deity giving me the heads up on morality, right and wrong and all that malarkey (no diss to Jesus or the others) . I suppose it’s possible, that a patient could be so in awe of their medic, that they could make an irrational choice of belief system, as a result of advice from the doctor.

I find the thought of a doctor spouting on religion an irritant, but so long as it doesn’t conflict with clinical judgement, does it matter.  I’d rather doctors had a personality and that the GMC, lobby for patients to have greater choice of who their doctor is, so next time one converse’s on a touchy subject the patient can just say “next please” and choose a doc more too their liking.

I made my choice or rational decision, not to believe in god, many years ago as a child, watching documentaries on the “Great War”  or the Holocaust in which millions died prematurely, since then war and atrocities' have come and gone, Pol Pot in Cambodia or “Srebrenica” and “9/11” and still people have faith, I don’t understand, nor do I wish too, its what makes us human.

Still I think the Bethesda, is one of the few remaining practices that doesn’t use an 0844 phone number, saving patients who use mobile phones inflated call charges, unlike mine, maybe the GMC are being a tad trivial, still I’m not god.


  1. I agree entirely with the GMC's decision. While I believe that everyone should be free to practice whatever religion they want in their personal lives (providing it doesn't preach hatred), we shouldn't have to put up with it when seeking medical help.

    If only all schools were banned from relgious bias too (ie no more "faith" schools)...

  2. I am not exactly religious or been in a situation to put it the test. To be honest I am pretty even handed about what people believe or don't believe and it is a case of "no thanks mate" as far as I am concerned. A bit like having someone canvassing on my doorstep from another political party, I am not rude or offended either way. So I do think the GMC are a bit petty as it is blatantly obvious the practise is a Christian one and all it takes is a simple "no thanks mate".

  3. Good sense from Tony B with which I agree entirely. Same applies with faith schools for nobody has to go to them. In Thanet there are grammar, technology, high schools unaffiliated, an academy, a Catholic and a C of E secondary given pupils and parents a fairly wide choice.

    Might add also that without church schools historically many of the poorest kids would have received no education at all.

    No, live and let live, is the best approach. I am even polite to the Jehovah Witnesses who knock on my door. They believe their version and Richard Dawkins has his. Who really knows anyway.

  4. The difference is that you may be assigned to the Bethesda Practice and it may not be convenient (home visits etc) to look elsewhere. I go to the doctor for medical advice and treatment. Their bible - which for me has no greater status than ouija boards, voodoo and fairies at the bottom of the garden - has no part to play in that whatsoever. They should keep their faith to themselves.

  5. I often wonder about Doctors on how they can hold it all together dealing with death and all the emotions that go with it.Whatever upsets we have in our lifetime we all have different ways of dealing with it. Looking at it logically faith in some people is a very powerful force and helps them to hold it together in difficult circumstances and is their strength. It may not be my way or most peoples way, but without getting too judgemental I just think this guy was trying to help.

  6. Would you supporters have felt exactly the same if the Dr was a pagan or moslem or scientologist?

    And yes, I'm polite to Jehovah's Witnesses when they knock on my door too (Hank Marvin is one so they can't be that bad!), but that's a completely different situation.

  7. Peter, faith is important to many people and it really does not matter which faith that is. Hence your attempt to differentiate between christians and others is pure PC mischief making.

    As to the surgery, well if the doctor suggested that faith might help in a medical situation the patient could take it or leave it. In any event we are only hearing one side, that of the person complaining, and we are yet to get the full facts. It is perhaps, not without significance that the alleged offended patient could not even be bothered to turn up for the GMC hearing.

    Try to be less judgemental. Some folk don't agree with nude photos but that doesn't mean you have to stop taking them less you offend someone.

  8. The difference is I'm not a doctor offering to take nude photos of patients...

    So you'd be happy with a druid doctor speaking to you about the benefits of paganism?

  9. Faith is a point of view, nothing more. Religion is a belief for some, nothing more. Neither should be pressed on a third party any more than any other personal interest should be.

  10. Exactly anon.

    Must run, my church is calling.

  11. Peter, if I had some serious illness which was untreatable by known methods I might be more than willing to try a druid or witch doctor who claimed some ancient remedy. The point remains that we have choice and as Tony B said earlier, we can always say 'No Thanks.'

    Why is it unbelievers have such a problem with faith. Richard Dawkins has made a crusade against belief in a god and is more passionate in his preaching than many clergy. How weird is that.

  12. Because those with faith are constantly trying to push their views and opinions on non-believers - that's why Tom Clarke. Not nicknamed bible-bashers for nothing.

  13. The Doc clearly gets a buzz from being a Christian, so one cannot blame him from suggesting it to a patient, as a possible remedy.

    Of course, the GMC would rather he just stick to prescribing psychiatric drugs and leave all the spiritual stuff to the satanic TV and Hollywood scriptwriters.

  14. 10:55 I think you will find that most religious people do not push their faith on anyone and the term bible bashers is used for those few that do. Tell me, however, why is it more acceptable for someone like Dawkins to push his atheism on people, even to hiring bus advertsing to proclaim there is no god, than it is for a religious person to spread the word of their god.

    I repeat live and let live and to each his own. It is intolerance, not faith, that causes most of the world's problems.

  15. I think we're drifting off-topic here. To clarify (again) I don't have any problem with people preaching any religion, nor do have people telling us there's no religion. It's just that none of them belong in a Dr's surgery.

    I'm a Christian by the way.

  16. Peter, whilst you are right that this has gone off the original topic, but then most debates do, I was responding to the introduction of the 'bible bashers' label.

    Clearly, some of us can see no harm in a doctor introducing faith under certain circumstances whilst you obviously take a different view. So be it for it would be a dull old world if we all agreed on everything.

    Be interesting to see how the hearing with the GMC ultimately pans out when all the facts are known.

  17. I suppose, Tom Clarke, that the distinction - between the likes of Dawkins and the religious world - is that I have never had humanists or atheists knocking on my door, as the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do, pumping their belief in my faith with some persistence. I have never had humanists or atheists shouting about "Jesus" when I am shopping in Canterbury. And atheists and humanists do not argue that they should be exempt from laws passed democratically - in the way that "christians" keep arguing they should be allowed to discriminate against the LGBT community because of their "beliefs" and "principles". Nor do I see homophobic hatred being promoted by atheists and humanists in the way that "christians" - certainly the more fundamentalist branch - consistently do on websites and blogs.

    Those are some of the differences and some of the reasons why a doctor should keep to scientific medicine and not introduce fanciful personal beliefs into his or her work.

  18. But his beliefs are not fanciful to him. As to Dawkins he proclaims his anti-God rhetoric from every pulpit and bandstand available to him. He might not be at your front door but he is frequently on my TV screen.

    Fortunately most atheists, like most christians, do not shove their beliefs down other folks, throats. Dawkins, like the JWs, is an exception so perhaps none of us should generalise.

  19. Another point on which an agreement to differ - seems the prevailing sentiment of the past few days - is appropriate.

  20. What do we all agree to differ on, 10:59, God, Dawkins (could be one and the same), Christians, doctors, atheists, TV screens or JWs at the door?

    Be a pretty boring debate if all we ever do is agree to differ. Might as well not get started in the first place.

  21. Anon 12.38, I did not suggest we should "all" agree to differ, just myself, Tom Clark, and Anon of 09.49. For me, the main points of difference are
    - the legitimacy of a GP promoting his religion in the surgery
    - the behavioural differences between most atheist/humanist activists and some religious activists
    - the unacceptable stance of many religious activists.

    I hope that helps.

  22. All very one sided, anon. Most religious people quietly follow their faith and it is the extremists, ranging from JWs to Islamic fundamentalist who pester others.

    Exactly the same as non-believer, most of whom are happy to live and let live, except the extremists like Dawkins and those who plague newspapers, Ceefax and blogsites with the anti-religious views.

    As for unacceptable stances, as a christian I find Dawkins vitriolic attacks on my church and beliefs totally out of order.

    Sadly there are inconsiderate and intolerant people in all groupings so, whilst I am prepared to agree to differ with you over whether a doctor should introduce faith into his consultation, I can not on the other points you neatly tabulate.

  23. I am unaware, Tom Clarke, of any atheist group that preaches bigotry and hatred, including homophobia. I am unaware of any atheist group that says I, as a practising gay man, should "burn in hell". I am unaware of any atheist group that argues the law should not apply to them and individuals should be allowed to flout it by, for example, refusing to allow gay men or women to stay in a "christian" guest house.

    These are not extremist religious stances, but apply to main-stream religious groups, including the main churches.

    I am sure many who call themselves "christian" are moderate and have a liberal approach. But don't try to kid yourself or others - a very large number are in the loony right category

  24. "The loony right category" would seem to imply, as ever from you, that even religion has a political angle. You really do have a problem hiding your lefty roots.

    Homophobia is not exclusive to people of a faith and I think you would find, if you bother to look, that most christians do not have a problem with the gay community. Many gays are christians.

    Having been a church going christian all my life I have never heard anyone preach intolerance of anything. The whole thing revolves around Christ being totally inclusive.

    No doubt in your warbed lefty world you have this vision of middle class blue voting folk making up congregations. Suggest you visit a few Thanet churches where you will find a complete cross section of the community, including gay people, but let's not spoil a good old Labour bigotted view of it.

    The strange thing is that the Labour party's roots go deep in the Methodist church but somehow, to some lefty bigots, we christians are now the enemy. Mind you, in your case, everyone who disagrees with you is a Tory.

  25. Sidestepping the issue being raised to get onto ground that is more comfortable for you does you no credit, Anon - or Tom Clarke/Will Lambert? The religious right is a commonly used term to describe those who have a more "orthodox" and literal view of their faith. I was not seeking to make this political.

    Indulgent, patronising tolerance of LGBT individuals - kindly expressed though not meant - is hardly acceptable. If all the "christians" you know are so liberal, why are the mainstream churches opposed to practising gay men becoming priests and certainly bishops? Why do the catholics oppose adoption by gay couples? Why do christians want to stop gay couples staying in their guest houses?

    All of this is intolerance, however sweetly hypocrites within churches may put it across.

    Perhaps we have different standards of intolerance.

    And there are many more LGBT individuals outside the church than in it.

  26. Hardly surprising as in this day there are undoubtably more people outside the church than in it of all persuassions.

    I have no intention on being drawn into a debate on the teachings of Rome but would remind you it was not so long ago that homosexuality amongst men was an offence in law. Change and acceptance of change is a slow process and I would suggest, simply from the law of numbers, that there is still more homophobia outside the church than in it.

    As ever I guess you will suggest we agree to differ. Frankly whatever for I am bored.

  27. Your failure or refusal to address the points I have raised, Anon/Tom Clarke?William Lambert, demonstrates that you, like most of the "christians" around you, are bigoted, certainly as far as the LGBT community is concerned.

    Tolerance for you means an uncomfortable smile and unwilling acceptance, and the off-stage trumpeting of Leviticus and all the other "convenient" authorities in your bible. You are willing to accept LGBT individuals into your churches but deny them full rights and equality.

    It stinks.

    Your churches claim to lead and to build opinion and values, yet your fall-back is that there is homophobia outside the it is ok that there is homophobia within it. That is not leadership.

    You make the atheists' job so easy.

  28. Bit wound up aren't we? I said you will find homophobia every where and that it will take time for universal acceptance. Nothing more or less. Anyway, you always put your slant on everything others write so there is nothing I can do about it.

    Peace be with you brother.

  29. Atheism is the new profession according to 10:00 and, apparently it is easy. No mention of what the pay is like but with the job shortage in Thanet it might be worth looking into.

    Don't ask me what exactly they do but presumably it is something if 10:00 is to be believed. Perhaps they stand outside churches with banners like Driver's brigade do over on the Nethercourt roundabout.

  30. Actually protests outside churches sounds a great idea, Anon. Thanks for the suggestion.

  31. Yes, why not try it for, who knows, we might actually meet up face to face. By the way, I am not one of those turn the other cheek christians so keep it orderly.

  32. Wow an aggressive, threatening "christian". Par for the course.

  33. Not really showing the tolerance for my life choice that you expect for yours. Also par for the course!

  34. I think we'll call that ending a draw.