Thousands of nurses think it is fine to have an affair with one of their patients, according to research.
Almost one in 10 nurses think breaking the age-old taboo of starting a relationship with one of their patients is acceptable while one in six said they knew of a colleague who had a sexual relationship with a patient they were looking after.
The findings, published by the Nursing Times, will add weight to the controversial remarks by Conservative peer Lord Mancroft that nurses are "promiscuous" and "unprofessional".
Mancroft faced a backlash after he claimed he was ignored by nurses and forced to listen while they discussed their drunken antics and sexual encounters while being treated for gastroenteritis at the Royal United hospital in Bath last summer.
The survey's findings suggest many of the UK's 400,000 nurses are prepared to run the risk of being struck off for sleeping with patients and also that relationships between nurses and patients are not uncommon.
In January the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) issued strict new rules reminding nurses that they face disciplinary action if they embark on a sexual relationship with a current patient.
The rules also say that relationships with former patients will often be deemed unacceptable. The regulations have proved contentious with nurses who say many such relationships end in marriage.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says the survey findings, of 3,600 nurses, are "very concerning".