Suspended paramedic employed in city

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A PARAMEDIC who was fired over an allegation of miscounduct involving a teenager is now working for a private first aid company in Portsmouth.

David Oliver used to work for Great Western Ambulance Service but was dismissed following an allegation he had engaged in sexually-explicit and intimate exchanges on a social networking site with a person he believed to be 15 years old. Mr Oliver, pictured right, denies the claims and says he is the victim of a false and malicious allegation.

He has been suspended from the Health Professionals Council’s register while it decides whether he has to face a fitness to practise hearing later this year.

In the meantime, he cannot work in the UK under the title ‘paramedic’.

But he has moved to the south and is now working as the clinical supervisor and operations director for Portsmouth Medical Services – a private ambulance company which provides emergency cover at events.

His new job came to light after a concerned employee at the company contacted The News.

The anonymous source said they were concerned that Mr Oliver – who denies any wrongdoing – had been given the position despite the allegation.

Meanwhile a former ambulance employee added: ‘This man’s clinical ability isn’t being called into question but it’s a moral argument here about whether it’s right he should be working for the company if he’s been dismissed from an NHS trust and may be subject to a Health Professionals Council hearing.’

Mr Oliver was sacked from Great Western Ambulance Service, which covers Bath, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Swindon, in May this year, following an internal investigation.

According to the Health Professionals Council’s report, Great Western Ambulance Service’s disciplinary hearings panel felt that he had breached the standards of the trust’s statutory duties for safeguarding children.

It considered that the period of time over which the exchanges took place – from July to September 2010 – called into question his ability to understand the importance and gravity of his behaviour.

A police investigation against him was dropped in January.

A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance Service confirmed: ‘The individual was suspended by the trust on September 3, 2010.

‘Following an internal investigation and disciplinary process, he was dismissed on May 23.’

The Health Professionals Council, which is the statutory body that regulates health professionals, including paramedics, suspended Mr Oliver in September last year.

An investigation committee held a review of the interim suspension order at the end of last month and decided to uphold the order while a decision was made about whether to proceed with a full hearing.

During the private committee hearing, a representative for Mr Oliver – who only works for Portsmouth Medical Services occasionally and not as a full-time job – said he had been ‘set up’ and that he was the victim of a malicious act to harm him professionally and personally. The committee was also told Mr Oliver is not working in a clinical role at present.

Mr Oliver declined to comment to The News. Speaking on his behalf, a spokesman for the GMB union said Mr Oliver was the victim of false and malicious allegations.

A spokesman said: ‘We are vigorously seeking to get the interim suspension order by HPC lifted so that he can resume his career as a qualified paramedic.

‘Since the police investigation into the allegations did not lead to any charges against our member GMB is confident that we will succeed in getting the interim suspension lifted.’

PORTSMOUTH Medical Services is registered with the Care Quality Commission, which is the health and social care regulator.

The CQC carries out inspections of organisations but it is yet to inspect Portsmouth Medical Services, which only registered with the watchdog on July 17.

When a service is first registered it is deemed compliant and will normally have an inspection visit within a year, or sooner should concerns be raised.

When inspecting companies, the CQC has a checklist of essential standards a company or organisation must meet.

One of the essential standards the CQC sets is that staff should be of ‘good character’ and ‘honest, reliable and trustworthy’.

Gary Oakley, managing director of Portsmouth Medical Services, said in a statement that Mr Oliver underwent all the relevant reference checks before he was hired.

He added: ‘David has been a personal friend for over three years and I am fully aware of allegations made against David and must stress the effects that this has had on his career and personal life.

‘I personally support David and I have no concerns over why he left the NHS.’