London

M&S and hair cut paramedic guilty of misconduct

London Ambulance Service
Image caption Former paramedic Domenic Colella failed to attend the tribunal hearing

A paramedic who left patients in an ambulance while he did some shopping and had his hair cut has been found guilty of misconduct.

Dominic Colella twice forced London Ambulance Service colleagues to wait for him to finish his unofficial errands before he drove to hospital.

While no harm was caused, his actions in March 2013 could have had serious consequences, a tribunal heard.

Mr Colella said he was suffering from stress and resigned in March 2013.

He said being overworked had contributed to his behaviour, but the Health And Care Professions Council said it had seen no evidence to support that claim and "no evidence to suggest his behaviour has changed."

An 85-year-old man, who collapsed with severe blood poisoning, was made to wait for 20 minutes in the back of an ambulance while Mr Colella returned from Marks and Spencer's, carrying two full shopping bags, on 9 March 2013, the tribunal in London heard.

Hair salon stop

On 30 March, he left a man with head injuries in the care of a more junior member of staff so that he could visit a hair salon to get his hair cut, again delaying a patient's journey to hospital.

As Mr Colella was the ambulance driver on both occasions, his colleagues felt they had no choice but to wait for him, the panel was told.

Mr Colella said he regretted his behaviour and admitted abandoning his colleagues and patients but then failed to attend the tribunal hearing, causing the panel to question whether he understood the seriousness of his actions.

Panel chairwoman, Gillian Fleming, said: "Whilst it appears no harm was caused, the potential impact of the registrant's actions could have had serious consequences for the patients.

"The registrant's actions may indicate an attitudinal problem which he appears to have taken no real steps to address.

"There's no evidence to suggest his behaviour has changed."

Mr Colella indicated earlier in the hearing he wished to resume his duties as a paramedic and the panel has retired to consider its sanctions against him.

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