Nursing bodies condemn prank call
Heathcare organisations have expressed concern at the hoax call that duped nurses into helping reveal details about the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition.
A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing said it did “not condone” the trick played by 2day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian to extract information from the staff treating Kate at King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London.
One of the nurses who was duped, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead after apparently taking her own life.
RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said in a statement: “This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.
“It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.”
The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association also released a statement.
It said: “The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSW NMA) expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends and work colleagues of British nurse Jacintha Saldanha.
“The NSW NMA had written to Mr Jeremy Simpson, general manager of 2Day FM, prior to this tragic incident occurring.
“We urge all nurses and midwives who are under pressure or feeling stress to seek appropriate assistance and to not feel afraid to reach out for help.”
The letter from NSW NMA general secretary Brett Holmes expressing his concerns about the prank call was sent to the Australian radio station before he was aware of Ms Saldanha’s death.
In the letter, he said: “While I appreciate that your station may well consider this incident a successful coup in terms of its news and entertainment value… I would like to draw your attention to the very serious professional consequences such a stunt would have had for a nurse or midwife in the Australian context.”
The letter explains that if the call had been to a hospital in Australia, the nurses involved could potentially have had to go through three separate disciplinary processes, including those conducted by their employer and other inquiries conducted by the regulating authority and the Health Care Complaints Commission.
He described these processes as “stressful and deeply traumatic experiences for many nurses and midwives, regardless of the level of wrongdoing”.
The letter adds: “In the future I urge you to consider the personal toll such a prank could exact from a profession care-giver.”
He said he hoped the station “has undertaken to never again attempt to jeopardise their professional standing by perpetrating such a deception against another hardworking nurse or midwife”.