Warning for God besotted psychiatrist
A former mental health facility locum has been given an official warning for imposing her religious beliefs on vulnerable patients.
According to this report, Dr Antonia Johnson, a devout Christian psychiatrist, imposed her beliefs on three patients at Fulbourn Hospital, which opened in 1856 as the County Pauper Lunatic Asylum for Cambridgeshire, the Isle of Ely and the Borough of Cambridge.
A Medical Practitioners Tribunal heard that she left a patient in distress after providing her with “unsolicited religious material”.
While working on the Springbank Ward for high risk patients with severe personality disorders in April last year, she gave the patient a Christian leaflet “Francesca’s Road to Freedom“.
The panel also heard she imposed her beliefs on second patient who had been subjected to sexual abuse by her step-father by directing her to the religious website fathersloveletter.com.
A third patient was subject to a similar experience when Dr Johnson imposed her with unsolicited religious material which she described as:
A highly inappropriate way of forcing her opinion on me.
Johnson also told her:
She was only in hospital because she wanted to be.
All the charges were found to be proven.
Johnson admitted that while working as a locum at the Priory Hospital, North London, in 2012, she distributed religious materials and said she was “not willing to change her approach”, adding it was the hospital’s problem if they did not accept her working methods.
During the hearing, Johnson apologised for any distress she had caused and said her motives were “well intentioned”.
The panel found Johnson’s fitness to practise was not impaired, but decided to issue her with a warning, which will remain on her registration for five years.
Joy Hamilton, panel chair, said:
The panel considers that whilst Dr Johnson holds well-meaning and strong beliefs in the Christian faith, she misapplied them in her role as a doctor. The manner in which she sought to discuss and deliver her own beliefs in the circumstances in which she did, amounted to an imposition.
Patients were extremely vulnerable and Dr Johnson had insufficient or scant regard to that fact. There appeared to have been little or no regard to the patients’ circumstances in seeking to provide religious messages.
This conduct does not meet with the standards required of a doctor. It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust said:
Dr Johnson was working at the time as an Agency Locum at Fulbourn Hospital and was promptly discharged when the misconduct came to light. A report into the actions of the doctor was passed to the agency she was employed by, for them to include in their formal disciplinary process.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn