Hospital radiographer accused of humiliating colleagues with lewd sexual messages on Facebook is struck off

Laura Turner is accused of sending lewd messages to colleagues at the University Hospital of North Durham.
Laura Turner is accused of sending lewd messages to colleagues at the University Hospital of North Durham.

A hospital radiographer who “humiliated” and “degraded” her colleagues by posting sexually offensive comments about them on Facebook has been struck off.

Laura Turner sent a series of lewd messages to one of her co-workers about colleagues at University Hospital of North Durham during one of her shifts.

The registrant has behaved unprofessionally by sending messages which were sexually explicit and degrading to her colleagues.

Philip Geering, HCPC tribunal chairman

She was dismissed after the comments were shared in March 2014 and has now been found guilty of professional misconduct at a Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) tribunal.

Panel chairman Philip Geering said: “The panel is of the view that the registrant’s conduct fell well short of what would be proper in the circumstances and breached the standards of the HCPC.

“As a radiographer the registrant is expected to behave professionally and exercise good judgment in all circumstances.

“The registrant has behaved unprofessionally by sending messages which were sexually explicit and degrading to her colleagues.

“Given that this occurred while she was on duty in a clinical setting makes it even more unacceptable.”

Mr Geering said Ms Turner had taken a “cavalier” attitude to patient confidentiality by sharing photographs with x-rays and patient notes visible in the background.

“As a result of the registrant’s actions there is a significant risk in undermining public confidence in the Trust and in the health care profession,” he added.

“The registrant’s actions are sufficiently serious as to amount to misconduct.”

The hearing previously heard the Facebook comments had a “devastating” affect on the radiography department.

One of the victims said in a statement that she was “angry” and “in disbelief” and “went to have a little cry” after the incident.

Ms Turner’s line manager Judith Allen described the messages as “humiliating” and “degrading”.

“The rest of the department was absolutely shocked at the content and shocked at the unprofessional behaviour,” she added.

Ms Turner, who did not attend the hearing in Kennington, South London, previously claimed she was “easily led” and said her colleague “told me what to write”.

She added that she is “disgusted with myself”.

Mr Geering said she had failed to show “meaningful remorse” and was “focused on the impact on her personally and the risk of losing her job”.

Ms Turner has been struck off the medical register, subject to any appeal.

Mr Geering said: “The panel has decided that a striking off order is appropriate, given the nature and gravity of the registrant’s conduct.

“A striking-off order demonstrates to the public and the profession that high standards are expected of those who wish to practise as a health care professional.”