Two London Ambulance Service staff at Whipps Cross University Hospital disciplined for using emergency vehicle as a taxi

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Whipps Cross Ambulance Station in Leytonstone. Whipps Cross Ambulance Station in Leytonstone.

AN on-call paramedic and a fast response car were taken out of action while two drunk members of London Ambulance Service staff were driven home after a night out.

The incident happened at the Whipps Cross University Hospital, when two senior members of staff returned to the depot at 3am after being out drinking and asked the control desk to arrange for them to be taken home to Essex.

A former London Ambulance Service employee has broken his silence to speak out about the incident, which he says was known about within the service and resulted in the employees receiving just a warning.

He said: “They used it as a drunk taxi. It is a disciplinary offence to be drunk on ambulance property, then to expect to get a lift home – it is not just unusual, it is totally out of order and an inappropriate use of a vehicle.

“The public should know the sorts of thing going on with the health service. Senior staff abusing a vehicle and denying the public of a 999 resource. It is immoral.”

The ambulance was out of service for several hours while the two staff were dropped off at separate destinations in Essex.

The disgruntled former employee, who now works for a private ambulance service firm after becoming disillusioned with the NHS, said the depot was extremely busy at the time of the incident last March and staff were under immense pressure.

He said the paramedic reluctantly agreed to drive them under instructions from the control desk but was “disgusted” by what he was asked to do.

The former employee said: “It was reported to senior management who dealt with it locally and swept it under the carpet. None of the senior managers were impressed, but the matter was dealt with and no further action was taken.

“If you deny the public of an emergency resource, there should be serious repercussions.”

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We can confirm that two off-duty members of staff received a lift home from a colleague in a fast response car in March.

“This was an isolated incident and we are quite clear that it shouldn’t have happened. Both staff were the subject of an internal disciplinary investigation and appropriate action was taken as a result.”

Comments (6)

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4:25pm Fri 27 Nov 09

Touchwood says...

Shameful! Sack these drunks and reprimand the control room staff!! Someone might have died because of this incident!
Shameful! Sack these drunks and reprimand the control room staff!! Someone might have died because of this incident! Touchwood

9:16am Sat 28 Nov 09

UKIP-local says...

Can we assume the employer will report the use of their property and staff for private purposes when they complete the end of year P11d tax return? Clearly it is a taxable benefit to have the use of employer's vehicle(s) and staff on call for private purposes.

In business we are not even allowed to pay for a taxi to send female staff home after working late at night if public transport is still operating. So apply the same standards to these guys.
Can we assume the employer will report the use of their property and staff for private purposes when they complete the end of year P11d tax return? Clearly it is a taxable benefit to have the use of employer's vehicle(s) and staff on call for private purposes. In business we are not even allowed to pay for a taxi to send female staff home after working late at night if public transport is still operating. So apply the same standards to these guys. UKIP-local

10:12am Tue 1 Dec 09

Blue Light Taxi Whistle blower says...

Well I must applaud Mhairi MacFarlane for reporting the above matter as fully as I gave it to her.....The public have a right to know that thier Ambulance Service is being run by irresponsible Managers, who re-write the rule book to suit themselves, and deny the people of Waltham forest the use of a Paramedic response car for three hours. This matter is known about from station level, right up to the Chief Ambulance Offier Mr Peter Bradley, yet all that happened was a low level diciplinary for both the personell involved. Nothing is known about the Control room staff member, who authorised this improper use of a Trust vehicle, but I guess nothing too drastic happened there either........well we all know what to do when we get too drunk to drive our own car home don't we......yes, pay for a taxi.....not use an Ambulance car like these two did !!
Well I must applaud Mhairi MacFarlane for reporting the above matter as fully as I gave it to her.....The public have a right to know that thier Ambulance Service is being run by irresponsible Managers, who re-write the rule book to suit themselves, and deny the people of Waltham forest the use of a Paramedic response car for three hours. This matter is known about from station level, right up to the Chief Ambulance Offier Mr Peter Bradley, yet all that happened was a low level diciplinary for both the personell involved. Nothing is known about the Control room staff member, who authorised this improper use of a Trust vehicle, but I guess nothing too drastic happened there either........well we all know what to do when we get too drunk to drive our own car home don't we......yes, pay for a taxi.....not use an Ambulance car like these two did !! Blue Light Taxi Whistle blower

6:55pm Tue 1 Dec 09

truthteller2009 says...

Its a shame that Mhairi MacFarlane didn't check the credentials and reasoning of this "disgruntled" Nhs Employee before printing this story.
The employee in question alledgedly "jumped" before being "pushed" for an offence far more serious and unprofessional than the one being reported on. Alledgedly there have been many occasions in the past that the employee has acted in a manner you would not expect from this profession.
Whats writen above was wrong it happend a long time ago and has been dealt with in the appropriate way and the persons concerned reprimanded for their actions.
This is just an attempt to get back at individuals and mangament by someone else alledgedly caught doing wrong and reported to the Guardian because the tabloids couldnt be bothered with it.
Its a shame that Mhairi MacFarlane didn't check the credentials and reasoning of this "disgruntled" Nhs Employee before printing this story. The employee in question alledgedly "jumped" before being "pushed" for an offence far more serious and unprofessional than the one being reported on. Alledgedly there have been many occasions in the past that the employee has acted in a manner you would not expect from this profession. Whats writen above was wrong it happend a long time ago and has been dealt with in the appropriate way and the persons concerned reprimanded for their actions. This is just an attempt to get back at individuals and mangament by someone else alledgedly caught doing wrong and reported to the Guardian because the tabloids couldnt be bothered with it. truthteller2009

7:05pm Tue 1 Dec 09

hacked_off_las_staff says...

as a member of staff who was on duty at the time of this alleged incident, I feel there are a few points that need clarification.
Firstly, the managers in question did not 'order' anyone to take them home. They were, in fact stranded after a Christmas celebration having been let down by public transport.

The staff member in question transported them of his/her own free will and accord, and, to the best of my recollection, did so during his restbreak period, when the response vehicle would have been unavailable to the public anyway. The fact he used a service vehicle enabled him/her to be available again the minute his restbreak ended, rather than delay his re-availability in returning to station in his/her own vehicle, to re-collect the service vehicle. At worst, this cost the 'taxpayer' (we pay tax too you know) a few pounds in petrol, which I accept some may find unacceptable. However, its hardly crime of the century, and given the festive season......would they really begrudge this, given that no-one was actually deprived of a vehicle as it wouldn't have been available for calls anyway. Ironically it is the public who waste far more of our time and taxpayers money calling us every time they fall over and graze their knee, cut their finger, have toothache, headache, cough, break wind, or sneeze. Most of the calls we attend on a daily basis are not emergencies of any kind, let alone life threatening. In addition we daily suffer verbal abuse and physical assault in the course of trying to help people. I myself have been punched, kicked, bitten and spat at, and a colleague of mine was recently shot on a notorious local estate.

Furthermore, the staff member who leaked this information did not resign in disillusionment. he in fact resigned a few days before he was due to be sacked after discplinary proceedings after he himself misused a service vehicle and allegedly assaulted a member of the public. On one occasion he famously (or infamously) deliberately soilded himself in the drivers seat of a response car in order to take the vehicle off the road, costing the taxpayer a new car seat! He was nothing short of an embarassment to those of use who care about our profession and the service we provide, and a liabilty to the service as a whole.
as a member of staff who was on duty at the time of this alleged incident, I feel there are a few points that need clarification. Firstly, the managers in question did not 'order' anyone to take them home. They were, in fact stranded after a Christmas celebration having been let down by public transport. The staff member in question transported them of his/her own free will and accord, and, to the best of my recollection, did so during his restbreak period, when the response vehicle would have been unavailable to the public anyway. The fact he used a service vehicle enabled him/her to be available again the minute his restbreak ended, rather than delay his re-availability in returning to station in his/her own vehicle, to re-collect the service vehicle. At worst, this cost the 'taxpayer' (we pay tax too you know) a few pounds in petrol, which I accept some may find unacceptable. However, its hardly crime of the century, and given the festive season......would they really begrudge this, given that no-one was actually deprived of a vehicle as it wouldn't have been available for calls anyway. Ironically it is the public who waste far more of our time and taxpayers money calling us every time they fall over and graze their knee, cut their finger, have toothache, headache, cough, break wind, or sneeze. Most of the calls we attend on a daily basis are not emergencies of any kind, let alone life threatening. In addition we daily suffer verbal abuse and physical assault in the course of trying to help people. I myself have been punched, kicked, bitten and spat at, and a colleague of mine was recently shot on a notorious local estate. Furthermore, the staff member who leaked this information did not resign in disillusionment. he in fact resigned a few days before he was due to be sacked after discplinary proceedings after he himself misused a service vehicle and allegedly assaulted a member of the public. On one occasion he famously (or infamously) deliberately soilded himself in the drivers seat of a response car in order to take the vehicle off the road, costing the taxpayer a new car seat! He was nothing short of an embarassment to those of use who care about our profession and the service we provide, and a liabilty to the service as a whole. hacked_off_las_staff

1:54pm Wed 2 Dec 09

nugent12 says...

What your source failed to mention is that these two 'senior' members of staff were actually out drinking as a stress relief having spent several weeks organising a Service funeral and liaising with family members for a colleague and friend who sadly and tragically took her own life!!
As for being disgruntled the source actually resigned from the Service two days before he was to face a disciplinary hearing (and likely sack) for allegedly chasing another vehicle whilst on Blue Lights and then attempting to run someone over!
He then repeatedly threatended suicide on his facebook page resulting in him being arrested under the mental health act! He is then believed to have started working for M&L (private Ambulance firm) whilst off sick with London Ambulance Service just prior to resigning..... ultimately this is fraud so who is the bigger liberty taker???
It is these same two 'senior' members of staff who actually keep Whipps Cross and Waltham Forest together each day ensuring a Service is provided, without them the public of Waltham Forest would be far worse off.
What your source failed to mention is that these two 'senior' members of staff were actually out drinking as a stress relief having spent several weeks organising a Service funeral and liaising with family members for a colleague and friend who sadly and tragically took her own life!! As for being disgruntled the source actually resigned from the Service two days before he was to face a disciplinary hearing (and likely sack) for allegedly chasing another vehicle whilst on Blue Lights and then attempting to run someone over! He then repeatedly threatended suicide on his facebook page resulting in him being arrested under the mental health act! He is then believed to have started working for M&L (private Ambulance firm) whilst off sick with London Ambulance Service just prior to resigning..... ultimately this is fraud so who is the bigger liberty taker??? It is these same two 'senior' members of staff who actually keep Whipps Cross and Waltham Forest together each day ensuring a Service is provided, without them the public of Waltham Forest would be far worse off. nugent12

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