SOME NHS staff in Gwent are not wearing ID badges because they fear that if they are identified they may receive “unwelcome attention” on social media sites, say health watchdogs.

But Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council (CHC) is calling for national guidelines and a health-board policy requiring the wearing of such badges in work to be implemented, as patients’ needs are “paramount.”

The issue was raised following hospital patient environment visits to four hospitals – the Royal Gwent, Nevill Hall, St Woolos and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr – during which the CHC team identified instances of staff not wearing badges.

This is not a new issue for the CHC, but a report on the visits states: “A new excuse is being raised – staff are telling us they are afraid that if their names are identified they may receive unwelcome attention on Facebook.”

David Kenny, deputy chief officer at the CHC, said however, that this should not be an acceptable reason for not wearing an ID badge.

“We take the simple view that if you are able to see the name of whoever serves you in a supermarket or a bank, you should be able to know the name of the person who serves you at the bedside,” he said.

The CHC wants Aneurin Bevan Health Board to make sure its frontline staff are identifiable through ID badges, and the matter has been discussed at board level.

Board member Professor Janet Wademan, who chairs its information governance committee, asked why people are so afraid of having a profile in relation to their work.

“Unwelcome attention sounds like there might an underlying problem and I would like to know what that might be in terms of behaviour,” she said.