Nurses in the West Midlands have criticised a bus company for refusing to remove an advert featured on the back of its vehicles which they say portrays nurses in a derogatory manner.
The adverts feature a blonde nurse wearing a tight-fitting dress aside the slogan "Ooooh matron!" on vehicles driving from Worcester city centre to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Despite calls from the local nursing community to withdraw the adverts, the Diamond Bus Company has steadfastly refused, claiming they are harmless fun designed to "put a smile on people's faces".
However, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust along with the Royal College of Nursing have failed to share the bus company's humour, claiming several nurses in the area had been upset by the advert.
Shaunee Irvine, a nurse and Royal College of Nursing steward at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, said: "Nurses object to the trivialisation and gratuitous sexualisation of nursing, not least because it can risk fuelling a mistaken impression of nurses among some people, and this makes our already difficult job even more challenging."
But Stephen Bryce, Diamond's head of operations, defended the promotional campaign, which was vetted by a group of nurses before being approved.
"The advert is simply to provide a message that we provide a transport service into the hospital – a place which has its own parking issues – and put a smile on people's faces."