Sally Brayshaw, 54, was recovering from bowel surgery and suffering from other mental and physical health problems, including depression, which she sought help for from Apsley Surgery in 2012. Locum GP Dr O’Brien, a Pentecostal Christian, offered an alternative treatment without medication. He subjected her to religious indoctrination for 4 months and told her not to see her psychiatrist.  Dr O’Brien was struck off in 2015 following Mrs Brayshaw’s case, but she is seeking compensation from the surgery for £50,000 for the mental trauma caused by this treatment.

The case raises interesting issues of liability as the defendant argues that the doctor was an ‘independent contractor’ and that this treatment happened outside of the surgery so it cannot be held liable. However, it is clear that Dr O’Brien’s religious activities were closely related to his work as a GP and this role allowed him to advise Mrs Brayshaw that her health would improve through religious healing.

Justin Levinson is instructed by Irwin Mitchell for the claimant. Read more in the press below: