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.”