Belfast Telegraph

Ambulance woman 'failed to respond'

An ambulance service paramedic has been dismissed after failing to attend an emergency call.

Ann E Fitzgerald was paged at Altnagelvin ambulance station in Londonderry but claimed she requested colleague Ciaran Devlin go instead and shortly afterwards clocked off without attending the call. She had stomach cramps and her shift was almost over in October 2009, a hearing in Belfast heard.

A three-person disciplinary panel convened by the professional body for paramedics rejected Ms Fitzgerald's allegations against Mr Devlin and ended misconduct proceedings against him.

Panel chairman Gordon Sutehall said: "The panel noted that there was no express agreement between the registrant (Mr Devlin) and the complainant (Ms Fitzgerald) that he would take over the response to the call and that the registrant had clearly stated to the complainant that he did not commence duty until 1500 hours."

The panel also noted that there was no investigation by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Trust into Mr Devlin. "The panel accordingly concluded that none of the allegations were well-founded against the registrant and that the proceedings against him should be discontinued," Mr Sutehall said.

Mr Devlin, registered to Belfast with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which held the hearing, was accused of failing to respond to an emergency call on behalf of Ms Fitzgerald then providing false and conflicting information to a subsequent investigation by the ambulance service trust. All charges were dismissed.

A lawyer for the HCPC said Ms Fitzgerald, a rapid response paramedic based at Altnagelvin, was dismissed by the trust after being accused of failing to respond to the same call as Mr Devlin. She later made a complaint about him.

Ms Fitzgerald was experiencing stomach cramps when she received an emergency alert on her pager a few minutes before the end of her shift and said she would take the call but had to use the lavatory, lawyer Rowena Rix said. She asked somebody to notify Mr Devlin of the emergency call but he said he did not start until 3pm.

After retrieving equipment for Mr Devlin, she booked the call for him to attend and left the ambulance station. When Mr Devlin attended at the start of his shift the rapid response paramedic arrived after the two-man ambulance crew was already on the scene, Ms Rix said.

She said the ambulance trust had already substantiated an allegation against Ms Fitzgerald that she failed to respond to the call and she had been dismissed.


From Belfast Telegraph