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Warrington doctor faced complaints over 'religious fervour'
9:50am Wednesday 13th June 2012 in News
A BORN-again Christian doctor who told patients to pray for divine help rather than seek medical treatment thought he had been ‘gifted by God’, a tribunal has heard.
Dr Michael Diago Noronha was suspended by the town’s Primary Care Trust after complaints over his religious fervour at his Warrington practice in 2006.
In a hearing at the First-Tier Tribunal in Manchester last month, Noronha told the tribunal he had to follow God, a higher authority than professional guidelines.
He also made numerous religious references to patients without their consent, including advising them to address their medical concerns to God, instead of seeking treatment.
Noronha was then suspended by Warrington PCT in February 2007 but following a psychiatric assessment returned in September 2008.
But he was suspended by once more in March 2011 after another complaint.
The GP was also removed from the PCT’s medical performer’s list (MPL) but appealed the decision.
That appeal remains outstanding but Noronha then applied to work for Trafford PCT.
The application was turned down and the controversial doctor appealed the decision.
Tribunal Judge Hugh Brayne rejected that appeal in a decision just published.
He said: “In our view, the complex relationship between Dr Noronha's profound faith and his understanding of his professional duties cannot be disentangled on the basis of the evidence we now have.
“"This is somewhat puzzling: these guidelines were never ambiguous, and if Dr Noronha felt previously that he could not comply with them, his professional duty was clear.
"He should have ignored the pressure he perceived his faith put him under, or alternatively he should have ceased to work in a situation where he felt he must do so.
"That he claims only to understand this now is troubling."
Dr Noronha, who now says he was not ‘gifted’, had failed to provide the Trafford PCT with references that addressed the concerns about his religious beliefs, the judge added.