Kirk minister suspended after ‘just give her the pills’ comment on suicidal woman

A speech and language therapist trained in Edinburgh has been suspended after he told a colleague treating a suicidal patient to 'just give her the pills'.

By Stephen Wilkie
Friday, 15th April 2022, 1:57 pm

Reverend Eric Foggitt made numerous 'weird' and 'inappropriate' comments to his colleagues and would assign them 'sexual subtypes' using a bizarre system called the Enneagram of Personality.

A misconduct hearing was told he was a 'dominating individual who micromanaged his team and would say shocking things to keep his staff off-guard or to provoke a reaction'.

The Edinburgh University graduate, who was previously minister of Dunbar Parish Church, had an 'obsession' with the personality diagram, and would use it to stereotype his staff in order to 'manipulate' them.

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Rev Eric Foggitt: Minister suspended over comments made to NHS colleagues. Pic: Church of Scotland

The married father-of-three has now been suspended for a year after his colleagues at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust made complaints about his strange behaviour. He is currently the minister at St Andrew's Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian church in Brussels, Belgium.

Mr Foggitt has published books about the Enneagram of Personality and describes himself as a teacher and therapist who 'works with individuals, groups and churches to promote spiritual insight and development, using the wisdom of the Bible and the Enneagram'.

A misconduct committee heard he worked for the trust between November 2012 and January 2019 as a Band 8 Team Manager of the speech and language therapy team.

'Colleague 2', who made the complaint, said they were discussing a patient who was suicidal and suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, when he said 'just give her the pills'.

Complaints were made against Rev Eric Foggitt by colleagues at Southend University Hospital.

He later invited her to his flat after a team dinner to discuss her research and told her inappropriate things, that he had been abused as a child and a colleague 'fancied her'. She said he appeared to be 'testing her reactions' to 'analyse' them.

She said all she wanted to do was make an excuse and leave but did not feel able to because of his seniority.

The committee ruled: "It was highly irregular and inappropriate . . . Whilst there was no suggestion of any sexual motivation, it put him in a compromising situation and put her at a significant disadvantage.

"It was a significant breach of trust and the power imbalance meant that Colleague 2 felt compelled to agree to his invitation.

"The discussion involved highly inappropriate comments."

The committee heard Mr Foggitt also made inappropriate comments to another female colleague who was gay, by showing her a YouTube video of a young girl speaking at a rally against gun violence in America and asking if she thought the girl was gay.

The colleague told the committee this had 'come out of the blue and that there was no context at all'.

She said she was 'taken aback' when he then asked her if she 'fancied' the girl in the video. She said he 'made her so shocked and uncomfortable that she had to walk away'.

The committee noted this was an example of Mr Foggitt using 'shock tactics to extract a reaction from his staff and other people' as a way to 'control them and predict their actions'.

Mr Foggitt was suspended for a year by the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, after it ruled striking him off would not have been 'proportionate'.

A Church of Scotland spokesperson said: “We are shocked and saddened that one of our ministers has been found guilty of misconduct and suspended by the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service. We have just learned of this matter and will be following up with the presbytery and the minister.”

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