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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 18:09 GMT
Anger over grubby nurses 'slur'
Lord Mancroft
Lord Mancroft stayed in the Royal United Hospital in 2007
A government minister and health bosses have reacted angrily to claims by a peer that nurses at Bath's Royal United Hospital were "grubby and promiscuous".

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said the hereditary peer, Lord Mancroft had "abused his position".

The Conservative peer has been challenged by managers at Bath's Royal United Hospital to back up claims he made during a House of Lords debate.

A hospital spokesman said the claims were "damaging and distressing".

Mr Bradshaw said: "What I don't understand about this is why Lord Mancroft used his platform as a hereditary peer to make this outrageous allegation against nurses - and actually women in general - rather than making a specific complaint about an experience he may have had himself to the hospital authorities in Bath, who I'm sure would've taken it very seriously."

We're talking about dirty fingernails, slipshod, lazy
Lord Mancroft

Hospital Chief Executive James Scott said no complaint had been made at the time of the peer's stay, last August.

Mr Scott said: "He has made very serious allegations against a group of dedicated professionals who are committed to helping people in need.

"I believe it is wrong to make allegations like this without putting any evidence before us or giving us the opportunity to respond.

"If Lord Mancroft has any evidence to support these allegations or could identify the nurses against whom he has made these allegations he has a clear public duty to inform us."

Where poor nursing exists it should always be challenged through the proper channels
Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing

During the debate on NHS patient care Lord Mancroft said it was "a miracle" he was still alive.

"The nurses that looked after me were mostly grubby," he said.

"We're talking about dirty fingernails, slipshod, lazy.

"But worst of all my Lords they were drunken and promiscuous," he told peers.

"How do I know that? Because if you're a patient and you're lying in a bed, and you're being nursed from either side, they talk across you as if you're not there."

'Sexist insults'

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "These comments are extremely unhelpful and grossly unfair on nurses across the UK who work extremely hard to provide patients with the highest standards of care.

"Where poor nursing exists it should always be challenged through the proper channels.

"If any patient has an issue with their treatment by staff they should raise this with the healthcare provider, rather than make sweeping generalisations about nurses and sexist insults about the behaviour of British women."

'Grubby' nurses slammed by peer
28 Feb 08 |  Somerset

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