Gwent AM calls for response from minister over hospital Facebook pics
GWENT AM William Graham has called on health minister Lesley Griffiths to issue a statement on mobile phone camera use in hospitals, following the "outrageous" posting on a social networking site of a photograph of sick pensioners on a ward.
And he has insisted that Aneurin Bevan Health Board enforces its policy that such phones not be used to take photographs in hospitals.
The Argus revealed yesterday that a photo of two bed-ridden women on a ward at Nevill Hall Hospital had been posted on Facebook by a fellow patient, the image attracting a string of mocking comments.
The post triggered a complaint to the health board which said it had taken "immediate action" and had asked Facebook to remove the photograph.
South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle, notified of the post by a Facebook user, called for tighter controls in communication technology in hospitals, and fellow South Wales East AM Mr Graham reiterated that request.
Mr Graham raised the issue in the Senedd and is awaiting a reply from Ms Griffiths and also from health board chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall.
"I am sure that all Members will agree to the need to ensure the dignity and privacy of hospital patients, particularly in the most distressed conditions," Mr Graham told the Senedd.
"Patients must be made aware of their responsibility in being allowed to use mobile phones and media interactive devices and that their misuse is, potentially, an offence."
Mr Graham told the Argus the incident is "outrageous, very worrying and must have been extremely hurtful." He wants guidelines strengthened to protect patient privacy and dignity.
"These patients are only in hospital to be treated, they are not there for fun," he said.
"This can only cause more physical and mental distress to those involved and I am determined to expose the practice."