STAFF on a Southend private hospital children’s ward often used crude and offensive language to each other, a professional misconduct hearing has accepted.

Female staff at Spire Wellesley Hospital in Eastern Avenue, were commonly referred to as “slags”, a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel was told.

The claims were made during a hearing into the conduct of paediatric nurse Michael Boland, 40, of Hall Road, Rochford.

Mr Boland was accused of pestering a colleague, referred only as “Ms A”, for sex between March and May 2012.

He was said to have touched her bottom, and called her “a slag”, “a slut” or “a whore” on more than one occasion.

The central London hearing cleared Mr Boland of all but one of the charges. He admitted calling Ms A “a slag” in a conversation with her about her partner travelling overseas.

A report from the hearing said evidence Mr Boland had presented to the tribunal suggested the term was “normal working place banter”. He had not meant to cause offence, as this type of language was regularly used and accepted by staff.

In a written statement, he added, “I agree there was some banter exchanged that could be perceived as risque.”

The panel said it took into account Mr Boland had referred to Ms A as “a slag”, with reference to a television programme which used the word as a catchphrase.

Its statement added: “The panel was satisfied there was a culture of using crude language at the hospital at that time and it was more likely than not he had used the term on more than one occasion.”

The panel ruled Mr Boland should not suffer any sanction for the one charge he had admitted and said he could continue to work as a registered nurse.

The hearing followed a hospital internal investigation during which Mr Boland was suspended from work.

Hospital director Roger Lye said: “We demand high standards of behaviour from our staff and will act immediately where these standards have not been met.

“We pride ourselves on offering high-quality clinical care delivered by caring and professional staff and absolutely refute any allegation that there is a negative culture among the staff.

“I have been at the hospital two years and I work closely with all departments to ensure there is a positive culture of transparency, openness and engagement from everyone who works here.

“The issues presented before the NMC this week were thoroughly investigated at the time and appropriate action was taken.

“We are pleased the NMC upheld the action we took in this case, and the fitness to practise of our nurse was found to be not impaired.”