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Where is the evidence on religion?

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr Ravi Vatish’s letter (The GMC is wrong; faith has a crucial role to play in patient care) and disagree with Dr Richard Scott’s opinion piece (‘The GMC’s politically correct faith ban is not in patients’ best interests). Dr Scott appears to be advocating faith in the consultation room, while Dr Vatish advocates common sense.

I am an atheist but have used the patient’s faith in the consultation narrative when the patient initiates it. Once a female patient actually called me ‘Father’, before correcting herself. I can understand how having a faith can give comfort to a patient but please, Dr Scott, where is this evidence you allude to? Was it in the BMJ or was it anecdotal ‘evidence’? I have an open mind and would seriously like to review the research.

Lastly, to use Dr Scott’s analogy, when I take my car to the mechanic, I do not ask him about my kitchen boiler! Doctors are doctors, while vicars, imams and others are there for our pastoral needs. 

From Dr Andrew Clarke, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham