Brayshaw v The Partners of Apsley Surgery & Anor [2018] EWHC 3286 (QB) (30 November 2018)

The allegation in this case is that C suffered psychiatric harm as a result of religious practices and religious doctrines imposed on her through and at the behest of the D2 after she had consulted him when he was a locum doctor, his services having been engaged by the GP practice of which D1 were the proprietors… C has suffered psychiatric harm… C alleges that the series of events which led to her sustaining harm arose from and were instigated by a “treatment plan” which included an alternative “way of healing” (through finding God and faith) instigated by the D2 at their very first consultation. It is alleged that the events which followed that initial consultation amounted to the intentional infliction of harm or harassment or, at least, negligent conduct giving rise to tortious liability for the harm which ensued. It is further alleged that the way in which these matters were instigated, through a normal GP consultation, and the fact that the D2 intermittently remained one of the doctors treating C through D1s’ surgery, meant that the events leading to the C’s injury were “so closely connected” with the D2’s engagement as a locum GP as to give rise to vicarious liability on the part of D1 [2]

C was born on 30 April 1964 and in July 2012 became a patient of the Apsley Surgery, Stoke-on-Trent, a GP surgery owned, managed and operated by D1 as partners. D1 are not themselves doctors: one is a qualified nurse and the other a business manager. D2 was a General Practitioner whose services were engaged by D1 from time to time as a locum. [5]

C suffered from health problems, both physical and mental. [7]

C also had familial problems [8]

D2 was not writing a medical treatment plan but a spiritual one… Healing is widely used as a concept in religious teaching, but what it usually refers to is spiritual healing, not medical healing. This is the “way of healing” to which Dr O’Brien was referring. [71]

…I reject the claim that D1 are vicariously liable for Dr O’Brien’s negligence…[72]

I have found the D2 liable in negligence to C [73]