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'Lying down' pictures lead to A&E staff suspensions


Seven A&E staff at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon have been suspended for playing the ‘lying down game’ and posting pictures on the internet.

The pictures were taken at the hospital during a night shift at the hospital in August.

The “lying down game” involves being pictured lying down with arms by your side and toes pointing towards the floor and then posting the pictures on the internet.

The images, which have now been removed, were posted on the social networking site Facebook. The staff were pictured lying down on the hospital’s resuscitation trolleys, ward floors and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance helipad.

Dr Alf Troughton, medical director for Great Western Hospital NHS Trust, has confirmed the suspensions. ”A number of staff were suspended following allegations of unprofessional conduct while on night shift duty in the hospital during a weekend in August.

”This did not involve patients and we are satisfied that at no time was patient care compromised.

”The Great Western Hospital sets high standards for staff behaviour at all times and therefore takes any such breaches extremely seriously. It is important to reassure patients and our workforce that this was an isolated incident and staff cover was maintained at all times. The allegations have been thoroughly investigated and seven members of staff remain suspended pending formal disciplinary hearings.”


Readers' comments (13)

  • Absolutely the right action! If staff have nothing better to do than take pictures of each other during work time, perhaps we are not as busy and overworked as we think we are!
    I am not a dull stick-in-the-mud in my private life, but I think this does cross the personal/professional boundary. 'How it looks' to members of the public needs to be considered - poor standards of conduct may be construed to reflect poor standards of care - and remember, in this culture of patient choice ... if patients don't choose to access your service for any reason, you won't have a service - no service, no job!!

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  • I was very sad to read this article. Work is work and that is what they should have been doing. If there was nothing to do in their department apart from play silly games then they should have gone and helped elsewhere. I am sure it would have been appreciated. This sort of behaviour is taking the professionalism out of our profession.

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  • I agree with the 2 comments above, but would also add that I fail to see why anyone would want to lie face down in the road (or anywhere except a comfy bed or beach), and why they think anyone would want to see such a photo. They need to get a life...maybe do some further training if they haven't enough to do?

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  • Oh for heavens sake, these people were probably on their brake and it only takes seconds to take the picture. Patient's confidentiality wasn't compromised. Ok give them a pep talk about professionionalism but to be suspended is a bit over the top. Ive seen nurses turn up for work with loads of earrings and nose studs insitu etc. Also some nurses attitudes stink the way they talk to patients sometimes etc etc. prioritise professionalism please!!

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  • I agree with the above comment. They were just having abit of fun and goodness knows you need a sense of humour to work in the NHS! Not only has this potentially ruined the careers of these people but I'm sure it has left their departments short staffed.

    I don't condone their behaviour however I know nurses who sleep on night shifts and I have witnessed people who have been allowed to carry on with poor practice for years because management are too weak to deal with it.

    I also hear stories on a daily basis about how badly patients are treated in hospital and these people got suspended for 'lying down'. Crazy

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  • Martin Gray

    Two different opinions are obviously being voiced here, and with little give.

    I agree I see no point in this Facebook craze; it is totally pointless but obviously very popular. I also agree that if you are supposed to be working then you should be, but we all know that it is not always possible to do things, especially at night, without disturbing the patients.

    Good points made about what other things happen on nights, poor standards of care, and with NHS management.

    We should keep things in perspective rather than jump on a bandwagon of condemnation when there are far more important issues that need to be dealt with.

    Suspension very heavy handed and unhelpful, but a written warning would have been equally effective in my opinion. We DO need to let off steam in a non aggressive way, and remember to have a sence of humour. There was no real harm done after all, apart from getting caught out - which begs to ask the question ' how DID the management find out?' Do they all search Facebook or was there an 'anonymous' tip off with a motive of maliciousness?
    What a sad world we now live in :o(

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  • Phil Dup

    Typically pathetic gutless knee jerk reactions from our glorious NHS Management as ever.
    I cant see the point in this craze for lying down in unusual places HOWEVER I'm willing to bet a years wages these pictures were not taken in the middle of a busy A&E Dept with patients looking on. Sometimes very rarely one can have a short time on Nightshifts in A&E with no patients to see. If we are fully stocked up and equipment checked and everything is clean then sometimes its nice to let off steam and have a bit of fun - its even done in the army and its morale boosting behaviour that helps keep good team bonds for the times when everything is hitting the fan and everyone is working flat out to try and cope. I have worked literally thousands of unpaid hours for the NHS over the last 15 years working through breaks and staying later to help out when staffing has been unsafe. If people are getting suspended for lying down for a minute or two in odd place then we need legal processes in place to allow NHS management to be suspended everytime a shift is left understaffed. I would say that an understaffed shift is thousands of times more detrimental to patient care than someone lying on the floor in an empty Dept. This debacle is making my blood boil its so pathetic and childish !!! GRRRRRRR!!!!

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  • It sadens me to see these staff being suspended for having some fun. I would also say that no staff were in uniform in the photos I have seen, therefore it is likely these pictures were taken before or after shifts start.
    Dr's were also heavily involved and none of them are to face disciplinary action as there consultant just told them off. Double standards and the nursing profession turning on itself at every oppertunity
    Its a fad it will burn out and it harms no one let alone compromise patient care.

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  • for goodness sakes they were only having a bit of fun.Would the public rather all nursing staff be as miserable as sin.Typical heavy handed overreaction by management.Also as this appears a nursing issue why is the medical director commenting on this.It should be the director of nursing.

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  • The first three stuffy comments prove just how much nursing has changed, and not in a good way.
    Pardon my crudeness, but I think as a profession its got its head too far up its own a**e. Having fun, and letting off steam is no longer part of the job, yet being a team, practical jokes and the LAUGHTER used to be one of the best things about nursing and patient care was never compromised. That was because our management were hands on nurses who knew how emotionally draining our work was and understood the need to have fun. Yet now they sit in offices with no idea what nursing means. As for our nursing collegues why are they so quick to turn on each other and behave with such snivelling spite? There is no longer a real sense of togetherness and nursing care is all the worse for it!

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