Friday, 5 October 2007
It was through reading a post by the Thunderdragon that drew my attention to a story published on the BBC’s website on Wednesday.
The story described a calendar showing Conservative MPs from Sussex posing with models dressed as saucy nurses which has offended the people it was meant to be supporting.
Local MP’s Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton appear in the calendar to support a campaign to stop the downgrading of Worthing and Southlands hospitals. The proposals being fought could result in Worthing and Southlands Hospitals losing A&E departments. And others besides.
But it offended nurses at Worthing Hospital who complained to Unison which has now called for it to be scrapped.
Mr Loughton said it was not meant to offend and was a piece of harmless fun and added that: "If any harm or damage has been intended to any nurses or professionals we wouldn't have done it."
He said the calendar was produced by a restaurateur in Worthing and was first distributed six months ago and was received very well.
But Steve Brazier, regional health commissar for Unison, said they received a letter from a number of nurses who were disgusted and outraged because of the way their profession was portrayed.
He said: "It is a dinosaur stereotype of nurses as sexual objects which is deplorable and inappropriate and unacceptable. It demeans the whole profession."
The calendars were the idea of a local businessman and show the MPs with the models wearing provocative nurses outfits
Several things spring to mind.
Naturally the report did not say how many nurses had actually complained.
Personally I have had many dealings with clinical staff at this authority and it’s odd that it was only through TD and the BBC that I have heard about this ‘story’. There was certainly no backlash that I was aware of.
Secondly the two MP’s mentioned have worked tirelessly in support of the campaign to save the current configuration at Worthing and Southlands.
I have personally had several meetings with Tim Loughton over several issues and found him to be sensitive to the concerns raised, very supportive and certainly not the type of person that he is essentially being characterised as.
I have to say that I wouldn’t personally have gone with this particular calendar but I find it hard to believe that anyone could be disgusted and outraged by this. By the situation in Burma or Darfur most probably, but (at worst) a tacky calendar in support of a worthy cause? Come on folks, aren’t there more important things to be worried about. What about colleagues who may lose their jobs because of the PCT's proposed reconfiguration?
But of course in the run up to an election any slight damage that can be inflicted by the comrades on sitting Tory MP’s must be an opportunity far too good to pass up. If it was a heartfelt objection why wait six months bring the issue up?