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Concerned over NHS gagging

(74 Posts)
ACertainSupermarket Thu 09-Apr-20 12:47:15

Not in healthcare (obs) but how do you feel about the news that NHS staff are basically being gagged, banned from talking to the media and even having their social media accounts monitored?
There is more info available from health services in other countries than our own in UK news.

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frasersmummy Thu 09-Apr-20 12:53:15

I think its sensible. What any particular nhs worker is seeing is not what every other worker is seeing. Someone in London is going to have a very different take to someone even in Glasgow

News of what is happening should come from official sources

Its the same in any big organisation .. if there is interaction with the media it comes from a central point

FlibbertyGiblets Thu 09-Apr-20 12:53:39


Who says "gagging" outwith normal NHS standard confidentiality clauses is happening please?

NotInTheMorning Thu 09-Apr-20 12:57:00

I don’t think anyone is being gagged. Most (all?) trusts have media/communications policies though, which I think is a good thing. In the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of people speaking out when they don’t have enough understanding of why things are being done in a particular way, then because they are a doctor or whatever it gets picked up in the media, upheld as gospel, and creates a lot of upset. It’s just another way misinformation spreads so if that can be prevented it’s a good thing. To get through this we all need to pull together and if every NHS employee across the country is spouting off random nonsense that’s not going to happen.

EmMac7 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:01:04

Concerned. Very concerned. From the start the government has treated the public as infants, from whom the harshest truths must be concealed (“it’s just a mild flu” “only vulnerable people with underlying conditions need be concerned”).

The countries having most success are those with administrations that have taken the community into their confidence, so that everyone truly feels in it together.

ACertainSupermarket Thu 09-Apr-20 13:01:38

Yes I see the point about ininformation and confidentiality. This was one thing I read, can't find the other one now.
It just all feels a bit shady to me. I suppose it will come out in the end though.

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ACertainSupermarket Thu 09-Apr-20 13:02:26

* misinformation

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formerchild Thu 09-Apr-20 13:02:46

This is what it is always like in the nhs, not just under covid 19

NotInTheMorning Thu 09-Apr-20 13:03:02

Plus there have been people speaking out in the media about things when they are definitely not qualified to do that, ie they are a doctor but very junior, or work in a specialty which wouldn’t necessarily be involved in treating respiratory patients. Just a few days ago there were interviews in the press where a professor of medical imaging was speculating about Boris Johnson’s probable treatment. It turned out he wasn’t a clinical member of staff, he didn’t even have a medical degree and what he was discussing was far outside his remit. That sort of thing doesn’t help anyone.

ACertainSupermarket Thu 09-Apr-20 13:03:38

For example - have they got the PPE they need now?
Gov says delivered but then there are all these sewing groups making scrubs?

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Mintjulia Thu 09-Apr-20 13:05:22

Media policies are completely normal. Staff and patients in hospital have a right to confidentiality. And not to be scared unnecessarily by a staff member who doesn't have a complete view of all the relevant information.

If you want to know something you can use the freedom of information act. What the UK doesn't need now is foolish gossip.

AHippoNamedBooBooButt Thu 09-Apr-20 13:05:48

I'm pretty sure most jobs, when you sign your contract, state you can't post anything defamatory on social media and if you do it is a sackable offence. I'm not sure why the NHS would be any different to that.

Holdingmybreath Thu 09-Apr-20 13:06:46

It's not gagging and applies all the time not just in Covid time.All NHS workers know this.
There was a thread a Few months ago asking nurses what funny things had happened at work.This is an anomalous forum,we could have been vague but nurses all said they wouldn't do it due to patient confidentiality.So if you are a patient you won't be discussed outside your care team.
We're not gagged when it comes to complaining about ppe but we don't say where we work,no point as this us a concern for every single one of us.
We have one message,help us to help young staying at home.

Holdingmybreath Thu 09-Apr-20 13:07:04

You by not young.

UYScuti Thu 09-Apr-20 13:08:57

It's not that easy to gag people, anyone can have an anonymous Twitter or Facebook account or anonymously post on forums

NotInTheMorning Thu 09-Apr-20 13:12:32

Gov says delivered but then there are all these sewing groups making scrubs?

As I understand it the scrubs situation is because the majority of doctors don’t wear scrubs day to day, only in certain areas of the hospital or in particular specialties. They don’t have a uniform, and will just wear normal clothes. However people are now obviously reluctant to wear their normal clothes in the hospital and then go home in them, but hospitals just don’t have enough scrubs for everyone, hence the demand for extra. That’s different to the issues around not enough masks/gloves/visors for people directly involved in caring for people with covid-19, which I believe has now been solved.

HappyHammy Thu 09-Apr-20 13:13:31

Scrubs are not ppe. Hospital and care staff know they cannot speak to the media about patients. Organisations have designated spokes people to deal with the press enquiries.

ACertainSupermarket Thu 09-Apr-20 13:16:59

Like I said, I'm not medical. If the replies are from more medically oriented people then I am glad I don't need to stay paranoid!

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Menora Thu 09-Apr-20 13:18:57

No one is gagged that I know of but it’s against your confidentiality contract and also GMC or NMC to do or say anything publicly that could be a breach of confidentiality or bring your employer into disrepute. Internal investigations will happen and a lot of SER’s

There are plenty of doctors focusing on sharing information between themselves (youtube especially) rather than wasting their time and resources on complaining and blowing whistles. People are focusing on what they CAN do, and there are a lot of communities helping out with making things to speed up delivery. Scrubs and PPE are not easy to get hold of in the quantities needed

Holdingmybreath Thu 09-Apr-20 13:19:13

We are an inventive lot and you can make face shields with acetate and imagination.
Ff3 masks a different matter and on going.New masks may arrive,a different brand to the last and if it's not been used before then every single member of staff using them had to be fit tested ,and not everyone passes so they have the skills but can't work in Covid areas without a properly fitted masks.

NaturalBornWoman Thu 09-Apr-20 13:23:11

From the start the government has treated the public as infants, from whom the harshest truths must be concealed (“it’s just a mild flu” “only vulnerable people with underlying conditions need be concerned”)

This simply isn’t the case, no one in the government or their group of advisers ever said that. They said for the vast majority of people (c 85%) that this would be a mild illness, similar to flu. That is still the case.

EmMac7 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:25:01

They said for the vast majority of people (c 85%) that this would be a mild illness, similar to flu. That is still the case.

No, it’s not. The definition of mild includes moderate pneumonia.

JoanieCash Thu 09-Apr-20 13:27:28

Scrubs are not PPE. Usually nurses launder own uniform and doctors wear own clothes. Clearly now, nobody wants to trek home in contaminated clothes, so hospitals providing scrubs and also laundering them. I can remember back to the old era of hospitals providing and laundering white coats and uniforms, and feels full circle. The PPE debate remains controversial. What PHE have approved is much more limited than worn overseas. We are still bare below the elbows (except for short gloves) unless doing aerosol generating procedures. Coughing is presumably pretty aerosol generating too but seems overlooked. Whilst Trusts are following PHE and their media offices keen to emphasise this, many staff feel they are gaslighted by PHE and that we should have the current enhanced PPE as our basics, with a step up again for AGP (like HEPA filtered hoods etc). By silencing staff these concerns won’t be disclosed by Trusts’ comms offices.

lunar1 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:30:35

There is nothing normal about the emails being sent out to nhs staff right now.

Without question there isn't enough PPE and scrubs to cover everyone who needs them.

UYScuti Thu 09-Apr-20 13:35:53

What do the emails say Lunar?

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