A Government minister has hit out at the striking off of a nurse who exposed poor hospital standards at the Royal Sussex.

Margaret Haywood, 58, was removed from the nursing register last month after being found guilty of misconduct by the Nursing and Midwifery Council's Fitness to Practise panel.

She had secretly filmed the neglect of elderly patients at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for a BBC Panorama documentary screened in July 2005.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw today said he agreed with complaints that the treatment of her had been "unduly harsh".

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has offered to support an appeal.

Its chief executive, Peter Carter, said: "The decision to remove Margaret from the professional register was unduly harsh and we are considering making an appeal."

Speaking today in a Westminster Hall adjournment debate on whistleblowing, Mr Bradshaw backed the RCN.

"The Royal College of Nursing has said it will support her in any appeal and has made clear that it thinks, given the range of sanctions available, the decision to strike Mrs Haywood off was unduly harsh," he said.

"Having studied the report myself and considered the wider implications of the ruling on our whistleblowing policy, I have to say I agree with the RCN's position on this case."