Casualty and Holby City are filled with staff acting unprofessionally, the head of a scandal-hit hospital has said.

Antony Sumara, who has taken over at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Hospital Trust, said TV dramas such as these were entertaining but showed poor conduct and blatant breaches of patient confidentiality.

Writing in this week’s Scrubbing Up column on the BBC website, he said: “What impression of a career in the NHS is set in the minds of young people aspiring to be the future generation of nurses, doctors or chief executives when they watch programmes filled with unprofessionalism and poor conduct?”

He went on: “Nurses, doctors and other staff regularly gossip, flirt and argue with each other, usually while treating a patient at the same time.

“But, not to worry, the patient doesn’t mind and more often than not joins in.”

He said patient confidentiality was “breached constantly” on the programmes, with cases regularly discussed with patients in full earshot.

“Data breaches are common with patient records left in public areas or, worse, downloaded on to portable devices only to be lost later in the programme,” he added.

“Eating, drinking and smoking (directly outside A and E) are also common practice while on duty and in areas where signs are clearly displayed to the contrary, as is the use of mobile phones to make personal calls.

“Nurses and doctors have a difficult enough job at the best of times without having to live up to inappropriate role models but perhaps a group of individuals working hard together to save lives and improve the health of its patients in a caring and conscientious manner is just not good TV?”