Paramedic who refused to answer call struck off

A YORKSHIRE paramedic who refused to attend an emergency call because he had been on duty for six hours has been struck off by the Health Professions Council.

Brian Mortimer caused a six- minute delay in an ambulance reaching a patient who required treatment because he was driving back to his station in Malton for a meal break.

A Health Professions Council (HPC) disciplinary panel hearing was told that Mr Mortimer had refused to respond to a job which had been called in about 15 minutes into his break period.

As a result, the HPC has announced Mr Mortimer has been struck off for misconduct.

Andrew Wing, who was a colleague of Mr Mortimer's in the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, was also involved in the incident and has since apologised and been given a three-year caution.

The HPC's findings say that Mr Mortimer took a leading role in refusing to respond to the job.

The pair had started their shift at 6am and would normally be entitled to a break after six hours.

However the HPC panel's findings say: "This was not an absolute right and if an emergency call was received at a time when they would otherwise be taking their break they could be required to answer that call."

The emergency call was received by the ambulance service at 12.14pm – 14 minutes into the pair's break.

At this point Mr Mortimer was driving the ambulance back to the station and Mr Wing was acting as attendant.

According to the HPC Mr Wing was said to have queried whether they should be sent, because they had worked for more than six hours. He said to the control officer: "Can I just clarify; I think you'll find we aren't actually available due to the six hours rule."

Another official spoke to Mr Mortimer, who replied, according to the HPC findings, by saying "I refuse to do this job" and then informed ambulance control that the crew were going back to the station for their meal break.

A single paramedic in a rapid response vehicle had already been sent to the scene and an alternative ambulance from a different location was sent to the patient six minutes later.

The HPC says Mr Mortimer was not entitled to put his need of a break over the needs of a patient who was the subject of an emergency call. "In doing so we are satisfied he both failed to respond to an emergency call and that this failure caused a six- minute delay in an ambulance being sent to the patient."

It says in the findings that personal difficulties Mr Wing was experiencing at the time went some way to explaining his role, although they did not excuse it.

Mr Mortimer took the leading role, it says, adding: "He has not done anything to show remorse, to show that he has accepted his misconduct or that he is willing or able to address his failing on this occasion."