A worker at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital has been suspended after they took pictures of patients on their mobile phone “for a frolic”, it emerged today.
NHS chiefs launched an investigation after a member of staff caught their colleague snapping photos and reported them.
Regulations state that anybody taking photographs on hospital grounds must get permission and sign a special register.
Details of the breach were revealed at a board meeting of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Cannock and Stafford hospitals, yesterday.
Addressing the meeting, director of nursing and midwifery Colin Ovington said: “The staff member went off on a frolic and took pictures of patients on their phone.
“A number of staff have been interviewed this week about the incident.”
The trust refused to reveal whether the staff member was male or female or what position they held.
Lyn Hill-Tout, Chief Executive at the trust, yesterday confirmed the incident had taken place.
She said: “A member of staff at Stafford Hospital who photographed patients against Trust policy has been suspended and an investigation is underway.
“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.
“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 latest fiasco comes just days before a lengthy report into the deaths of 1,200 patients who died at the hospital between 2005 and 2009 is published.
Last week police launched an investigation into a nurse who taped a dummy to the mouth of premature four-month-old baby Mason Fellows to stop the tiny tot crying.
An official report issued to board members said the results of the investigation into the photographs being taken of patients will be discussed later this month.
The report reads: “The incident involved a member of staff photographing patients against trust policy.
“The action we took was to immediately suspend the member of staff involved and start our investigation.
“It is anticipated that the investigation report will be discussed at the February Incident Review Group and the findings reported through the trust governance structures.”
Campaigners slammed the latest accusations against the scandal-hit hospital as “disgusting”.
Ken Lownds (corr), of Cure the NHS, said: “It shows that the behaviours in that place are out of control, what can you say about it?
“Where do they recruit these people?”
The results of the public inquiry in to standards of care at Stafford Hospital, written by Robert Francis QC, will be published on Wednesday (6/2).