Two nurses at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital faked accident and emergency records to meet waiting time targets, a hearing was told.
Sharon Turner and Tracy White are both accused of falsely logging that patients were discharged earlier than they actually were because of targets to deal with them within four hours.
Both nurses are also said to have either inappropriately transferred patients to other departments in the hospital, either because they had not yet been properly assessed or they knew there were no beds.
Turner allegedly told a shocked co-worker to “lie about it” when informed they had missed the target in several emergency cases and swore at another who told a manager about the breaches.
She also allegedly racially abused a junior Asian doctor by calling him “Osama’s mate” and asked if he had a bomb in his rucksack, the Nursing and Midwifery Council in central London heard yesterday.
James Townsend, who is defending both nurses, earlier demanded a tranche of hearsay evidence against them be thrown out.
He said the NMC “relies on allegations which are not only hearsay but are also from anonymous sources which have not been identified”.
The lawyer added that the A&E department at Stafford Hospital saw “considerable friction between certain members of staff”.
“The effect of all this is, in the case of some of the charges, the registrants are having to face allegations where they don’t even know who it is claimed is making the allegations,” he said.
Hannah Eales, for the NMC, said: “The reason for anonymity was to enable the staff to fully express their concerns.”
The accusations against White relate to a period between March 2006 and July 2010, while Turner’s charges cover two years between July 2007 October 2009. Both nurses were working in casualty during those periods.
Neither White nor Turner, who are being jointly represented by a barrister from the Royal College of Nursing, has yet formally entered pleas to the charges. The hearing is expected to last 10 days.
Meanwhile a report was being released today by health regulator Monitor which could recommend stripping Stafford Hospital operator Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust of key services such as its accident and emergency, maternity and paediatric units.