Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Health chief Superman video slammed

A NHS health chief has been criticised after he appeared in an online video dressed as Superman

A health chief has been criticised by anti-cuts campaigners after he appeared in an online video cavorting around an NHS building dressed as Superman.

Phil Morley, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the video was intended as a light-hearted way to encourage staff to keep fit. But it has been watched thousands of times and drawn sharp criticism from the public after it was posted on YouTube.

Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire founder Danny Marten said the video - in which Mr Morley turns into Superman before dancing to Tony Christie hit Is This The Way To Amarillo - is seen as "crass and insensitive" to under pressure staff at the trust.

He said: "The video itself could be seen as a bit of harmless fun, with light-hearted message regarding stress in the workplace. But in the context of £100 million in cuts, staff morale issues which the Trust self identified last year and the recent criticism of the Acute Assessment Unit by the Care Quality Commission which commented that 'something has to give' regarding staff stress levels, this video has been seen by staff as crass and insensitive to their real needs on the front line.

"Comments made to us by staff are that when are they meant to find time for this when the pressure of work is almost too much to bear?"

The group's secretary Theresa Vaughan said: "Ensuring safe staffing levels at all times, being able to go on a break without feeling guilty, and not having constant fears about the future due to £100 million cuts would be a far better way to reduce stress. At a time of crushing cuts we also question the cost of making the film and the message it sends about resource priorities".

Mr Morley defended the video, saying he wanted to create something "quirky and memorable" to support healthy living, adding: "I was approached by our physiotherapy team to record a video to promote Work-Out at Work Day.

"The idea was to create something quirky and memorable to encourage staff to think about how they can keep themselves fit and healthy while at work and I felt it was a worthwhile project to be involved with. The day itself was a great success."

Paul Seabourne, PhysioHull service manager said: "The Work-Out at Work Day was a big success nationally and locally. Our team viewed Phil's participation as a real show of support and willingness to invest in the health and wellbeing of the Trust's staff. Often such initiatives suffer from staff being self-conscious, resulting in a lack of willingness to participate.

"The video, hopefully, helped some people overcome their fears and initiated positive discussions regarding being active and trying to ensure staff take their breaks."

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