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GMC to harden guidance on religion in practice

The GMC is set to tighten up its guidance on praying with patients, GMC board papers show.

A new draft of the guidance to be taken to consultation later this month has added a duty for GPs to consider ‘patients' religious, spiritual and cultural history' when assessing patients.

The regulator also plans to tighten up anti-discrimination guidance on doctors using personal views, including religious beliefs, in consultations.

Its previous guidance had stated: ‘You must not unfairly discriminate by allowing your personal views to affect adversely your professional relationship with patients.' Its new version removes the word ‘adversely', requiring GPs to challenge their colleagues' behaviour if there is any effect to the professional relationship.

A GMC board paper states: ‘We have added references to new issues, such as taking into account patients' religious, spiritual and cultural history, when making assessments of needs.'

It comes after Dr Richard Scott, a GP in Margate, Kent, accused the GMC of having an ‘anti-Christian bias' last month after facing a GMC hearing over his decision to discuss Christianity with a patient.