Ambulance 'allowed to run out of fuel'

Published Friday, 21 February 2014
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A Paramedic has been struck off the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register for allowing an ambulance to run out of fuel while answering an emergency call.

Ambulance 'allowed to run out of fuel'
A second ambulance had to be called after the vehicle ran out of fuel. (© UTV)

Paramedic David Hope, who has 34 years experience, was found not to have taken action after a trainee paramedic he was supervising told him that the ambulance had only one-quarter of a tank of fuel.

The HCPC's conduct and competence committee heard how the ambulance ran out of fuel on the way to a call which resulted in a delay of 20 minutes in another paramedic reaching the patient.

The panel further heard that Hope then asked a vehicle technician to say that the ambulance had stopped because the fuel was dirty, not that it had run out.

Chair of the panel, Nicola Bastin commented: "The panel finds by the very nature of his misconduct that the registrant was impaired at the time as he acted dishonestly and failed to properly supervise a junior colleague.

"His actions caused a delay in a patient being treated and therefore had the potential to cause patient harm.

"At the time he had served 34 years as a paramedic and should have been fully aware of what was required of him.

"Given the particular nature of the registrant's misconduct, especially the dishonesty found, the need to uphold proper professional standards and maintain public confidence in the profession would be seriously undermined if a finding of impairment were not made."

The panel decided the most appropriate action was to strike David Hope from the register with an Interim suspension order imposed to cover the appeal period.

David Hope was not present or represented at the hearing.

The Ambulance Service told UTV the incident happened in 2009 and Mr Hope has since left the service.

In a statement the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is aware of the decision of the HCPC conduct and competence committee to strike a former NIAS employee off the HCPC register.

"Internal procedures had commenced into the allegation but were closed without outcome due to the change of employment status of the individual.

"NIAS will continue to assist the HCPC where requested and is unable to provide any further comment."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
11 Comments
Michael in Belfast wrote (238 days ago):
Rightly or wrongly, this man has been stuck off for allowing a single ambulance to run out of fuel....whilst our glorious health minister presides over the biggest series of medical disasters Northern Ireland has ever known, and gets off ulster-scot free (see what I did there). I always thought democracy meant accountability? and accountability meant consequences for ones action or inaction. This ambulance driver was held to account, why not a health minister?
i feel sorry for him in lisburn wrote (241 days ago):
what a stupid thing to do, he made a wrong decision and he cost himself his job. this man had 34 years service , serving the public and now he has lost his job, I think that he should have got a severe warning, suspended for a month and then reinstated, we need experienced people like him. o.k. he could have put someone life at risk but he didn't, so come on give him a chance to redeem himself.
Mary in Belfast wrote (241 days ago):
Perhaps if this is the case the senior executives and senior managers should be treated the same as they have been guilty of putting patients lives at risk by not allowing enough staff on wards to give adequate care for their patients. Surely this is a case of discrimination. The under dogs versus the top dogs.perhaps he too is puttong cuts before care. After all he can only follow example.
he was a fool in belfast wrote (241 days ago):
he deserved to get the sack, he knew that he was short of fuel and did nothing about getting some, he then asked a fellow worker to lie for him by saying the fuel was dirty , he was lucky nobody died due to his actions.
Peter in Ballinderry-! wrote (241 days ago):
This is harsh! Think how many life's this man must have saved over the course of 34 years. A man with this level of Service is a hero primarily.
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