The chief executive of St Helier Hospital has called for a crackdown on nurses accessing Facebook at work after a complaint they have been ignoring patients because of it.

Sam Jones told the hospital’s IT team to stop staff logging on to the social networking site after an allegation nurses were checking their profiles rather than helping vulnerable patients at meal times.

The complaint was made to MP Tom Brake by one of his constituents.

A spokesman for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed Facebook had been blocked from trust computers for at least two years, but conceded staff may have found ways to get round the ban.