A Shropshire community hospital has refused a £2,500 donation from a group of men who had raised the money while dressed as nurses.
An event organised by charity, League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital, saw men dress up as female nurses and push a hospital bed around the Shropshire town.
“It isn’t ok to portray healthcare professionals in this way”
However, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust labelled the move sexualised, demeaning and insulting to the nursing profession.
Jan Ditheridge, chief executive of the trust, said: “It isn’t ok to portray healthcare professionals in this way.
“The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession,” she said in a statement.
Ms Ditheridge also indicated that the trust had requested that the charity did not to raise funds in such a way before.
“We have previously asked that this doesn’t happen and therefore don’t think it’s right to accept any money associated with this activity,” she said.
But she added: “Many people kindly and selflessly raise money for our organisation, and especially for our hospitals. We are eternally grateful for that.
“I’m sure the event was organised with the best intentions and we are sorry if it’s made people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed,” she said.
The annual bed push event has been raising funds for the community trust for around 20 years, according to Ludlow MP and government health minister Philip Dunne.
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“It is a matter for Shropshire Community NHS Trust whether to take donations,” he told The Shropshire Star. But he added that he supported the work that the League of Friends does.
The trust’s decision and the activity of the fundraisers appeared to divide opinion among nurses on social media sites.
Nurse Lynn Hearsey wrote on Facebook: “I think it’s about time people got past the Barbara Windsor nurse busting out with stockings and suspenders for the pleasure of the male patients and doctors.”
But another nurse, Hilary Smith, wrote: “I am certainly not offended by these men who are raising money in a humorous way for their hospital.”