Cardiology nurse boasted of bypassing hospital security to use Bebo
By Kirsty Topping
A NURSE bypassed NHS blocks on using social media at work and then boasted about spending the nighshift “fighting over Bebo”, a hearing was told.
Fiona Mairi Ross, who worked in the cardiology unit of Glasgow’s Western Infirmary, is said to have bragged: “Get it up you Mr NHS IT man.”
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) also heard claims that Ms Ross posted information that could have identified a patient who was suffering from bleeding on the brain.
Ms Ross appeared at the disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh yesterday (Mon) where she admitted posting inappropriate messages about staff, her workplace, and people in her care.
But the nurse, who worked at the hospital between 2005 and 2009, denies using the internet for personal reasons at work and that her fitness to practice is impaired.
The NMC took evidence from Alan Hunter, a manager with Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board, who led the internal inquiry into Ms Ross’s use of the internet at work.
He said the health board used a programme called Websense to block access to certain websites.
“My understanding was that a system had been introduced to screen out certain websites,” he said. “And…Ms Ross had found a way around that.”
Mr Hunter presented evidence of posts by the nurse, one of which said: “Way hey hey. I fought the system and am Beboing it up on the nightshift. Get it up you Mr NHS IT man.”
In another she wrote: “Yay, we are on night shift together so we can spend the evening fighting over Bebo.”
A third stated: “Off to get my lottery on so I can give cardiology a s*** load of money, piss off and leave someone to tap dance to their own heart’s content.”
It was claimed another post could have identified a patient as it made reference to which room they had stayed in and that they had suffered a type brain bleed known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
The hearing was told that Ms Ross lost her job in the summer of 2009 when the posts were reported.
Mr Hunter read a statement to the hearing in which he said: “Ms Ross had been suspended as a result of allegedly inappropriately using NHS property to access the Internet whilst on duty, inappropriately placing comments on social networking sites regarding colleagues, patients and other NHS employees, breaching the NHS IT policy, breaching NHS Dignity at Work policy an potentially breaching the NMC code of conduct, in particular the NMC guidance on social media sites.”
“On Saturday March 28, 2009 Ms Ross received a letter requesting copies of her private Bebo page so the panel could investigate the matter. Ms Ross telephoned to say she would not be bringing copies of her Bebo page for investigating as she was not legally required to do so
He said the nurse mentioned once that she worked for the NHS and did not name the specific trust. He said patients were “not mentioned by name or discussed in a derogatory way”.
But he said Ms Ross had breached patient confidentiality by posting about a patient.
Ms Ross’s lawyer, Malcolm Cameron, argued the nurse had not circumvented the NHS board’s internet security and had merely accessed a web-based email account.
He said: “All she did was access her Yahoo account, which was not blocked, and pick up her messages from Bebo.”
Dressed in a light grey cardigan, black trousers and calf-length boots, and clutching a tissue in her hand for most of the proceedings, Ms Ross sniffed periodically as the evidence was read out.
The hearing continues.
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