A worker at Stafford Hospital has been suspended after taking photographs of patients in breach of staff guidelines.
The Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, refused to confirm reports that the member of staff used a mobile phone to take the pictures.
In a statement issued by the trust, its chief executive, Lyn Hill-Tout, said: “A member of staff at Stafford Hospital who photographed patients against trust policy has been suspended and an investigation is under way.
“This incident was reported by another staff member and because of our commitment to be open and honest, was reported publicly at our trust board yesterday.”
Ms Hill-Tout added: “We are pleased that staff now feel able to report any concerns they have and we will continue to encourage staff to do so.
“Likewise, we will continue to report incidents to our board meetings - which are held in public - even before they have been fully investigated, despite any negative attention this may create.
“We cannot comment further on this incident at this stage.”
The trust’s policies stipulate that all photography of patients must be approved by a senior member of staff and recorded within a medical register.
There must be a fully justifiable purpose for photography to be carried out, and staff are also required to obtain written consent before any photographs are taken.
Nursing Times reported the incident last October but was discussed in more detail at the trust’s latest board meeting this month.
Meanwhile, a criminal inquiry is continuing after a four-month-old baby boy was found to have a dummy taped to his face at the hospital.
The infant, named in reports as Mason Fellows, was born 11 weeks premature and was taken to the hospital after suffering breathing difficulties.
Staffordshire Police said last week that officers from its Protecting Vulnerable People Department were in the early stages of an investigation into the baby’s treatment.