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Health worker suspended for sexist comments

A health worker has been suspended after telling a colleague: “Women should stick to what they know best: cooking, cleaning and bringing up children.”

Martin Swain also made other offensive comments to staff and patients, including asking a Moroccan woman if she owned a camel, an independent regulator said.

Swain, an operating department practitioner, told a female colleague words to the effect of “You should stick to childcare” and “Jobs like this were best left to men”.

And he asked a prisoner under guard where he had hidden the money, and made comments to colleagues about “shoddy” building work by Eastern Europeans.

He also failed to perform safety checks while working for East Sussex Community Health Services at Victoria Hospital in Lewes, East Sussex, a panel of the Health and Care Professions Council conduct and competence committee heard.

The panel was told he “compromised patient safety” by refusing to carry out consent checks to verify that the correct patient was present, the correct procedure was about to be performed and that any known allergies were identified in advance.

Panel chair Colin Allies said: “In the panel’s assessment, the established facts and misconduct are serious, involving offensive, inappropriate, discriminatory language and a disregard for safety-based procedures and practices.

“There is no evidence of any insight having been developed as the registrant’s statement attempted to justify his actions by seeking to blame others for his own failures.”

The panel suspended Swain, who was not present or represented at the hearing, from the HCPC register for one year, with an interim suspension order put in place to cover the appeal period.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Sounds like a thoroughly 'nice' man!!!

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  • Is there any audit of how individuals who clearly are not suited to a job in health get through their training.

    ?there should be an audit of all mentors who have abviously signed off proficiency and HEIs who deliver programmes professionally regulated.

    We do not need or want bigots and emotionally immature people in the profession.

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  • Pay peanuts, get monkeys.

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  • I think the fact that he didn't do the safety checks in theatre was the real reason, his 'banter' was the icing on the cake.

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  • I complained about the sexist, racist and abusive comments made a colleague a while ago. Nothing was done and he's still doing it. Maybe he gets away with it because he's a doctor?

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  • do female nurses ever make sexist jokes against male staff?

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 16-Nov-2012 6:08 am

    You bet, some of the garralous comments i've heard over the years directed at male colleagues have made even me blush to the point where i have interjected and said 'that's enough now'. but strangely enough the males don't seem bothered. Good job.

    It would be neverending if we all complained about some remark someone made to us. Many years ago when i first qualified it got back to me that i was called a 'bimbo' by a senior male manager. I went to see him and told him he was very much mistaken. He didn't deny it just fluffed around it and as i left said 'i have found our conversation very interesting' to which i replied 'yes so have i'.

    Obvioulsy if it is deliberate and continuous and a word in their ear makes no difference then that is a different matter.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Nov-2012 6:08 am as a 'male staff' I can tell you yes they do. All the time. Not just jokes, but remarks, comments and even actions. And they are a hell of a lot worse than anything I have EVER heard a bloke say or do to a woman in the workplace!

    But I've got better things to care about. Like what times my dinner break?

    Besides, I don't get offended if a woman wants to pinch my backside, I'm generally just grateful!

    Ha!

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  • Or ex male staff I should say. Do I still count as male staff now that I'm not staff? Or is the fact that I'm staff in a different staff place and male still count me as male staff? Hmmm. Time for my medication!! Tink, help!!!!

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  • tinkerbell

    mike | 16-Nov-2012 11:56 am

    Are you having an indentity crisis, mid life crisis, gender crisis? I need more information and will have to complete 10 different types of assessment before i can even consider offering you any practical help.

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  • Don't forget the pre and post treatment paperwork! Or the paperwork during my help which tells everyone in the office that the work has been done, even though it hasn't because we were all busy doing the paperwork to say it has! Or the forms to say the paperwork has been done, to be filled in and signed in triplicate. Can I have my pill now?

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  • Some of the things female staff say to me are near the knucle, literally and metophorically. The most amusing was a female member of staff who announced that she had nearly fainted because her husband had challenged her to 'wear' a pair of 'love-eggs' into work, and she was mightily glowing.
    Me, being the shy and retiring type, hadn't heard of these devices before, and was surprised when she adjourned to the loo and returned with a pair of stainless ( thankfully) steel balls which rattled about like they were half full of ball-bearings, and which are inserted some distance into the vagina. The normal movement of the body then causes all kinds of seismic ripples, as I am lead to understand.
    My surprise was complete when she tossed me the still warm implements, and everyone dissolved in fits of laughter. (pS it was a very quiet night shift!)
    Thats the worst of my experience, women and men really are as bad as each other ( I blame the Spice Girls), but men have a better sense of humour about it.

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  • tinkerbell

    Just laughing at Al Murray speaking on sexual harrassment he said 'when i wrote down in a statement that i touched her t*ts cos i was lonely it looked good, when i had to say it at a tribunal i sounded like a right doughnut'.

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  • No respect these days from men, women, Dr's or nurses, for one another especially. Always bleating about staff shortages and work over-load, yet they have time to mess about in the loo with their "Toys". Disgracefull.

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  • I am happy to accept banter and to make some comments that are not PC but are certainly not meant to be offensive. I find that if I take the p out of myself folk are generally willing to accept banter - especially when they realise it is not meant seriously.

    We need more humour and less head up bottom seriousness.

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