July 2012

Paramedic struck off for sexually explicit messages

A PARAMEDIC found to have engaged in sexually explicit conversations online with a boy he thought was under-age has been banned from practising.

David Oliver has been struck off the Health Professions Council register after a panel found an allegation of misconduct against him proved.

Mr Oliver worked for Great Western Ambulance Service.

But he was sacked in May last year following an internal investigation into a claim he took part in sexually motivated conversations with someone he believed to be a 15-year-old boy on a social networking site between July and September 2010.

As reported, Mr Oliver was suspended from the Health Professions Council after the allegation was made by a woman purporting to the mother of the boy – named only as ‘TB’ – came to light in 2010. This meant he could not work in the UK under the title ‘paramedic’.

But he last year took on the role of clinical supervisor and operations director for Portsmouth Medical Services – a private ambulance firm which provides emergency cover at events. Mr Oliver was suspended last August after the allegations against him were revealed in The News. He later left his post and the firm has put additional safeguards in place as a result.

Mr Oliver did not attend the misconduct hearing. But in a statement prior to it taking place he denied any sexual intent in the messages.

He claimed to be a victim ‘of ‘malicious and false’ allegations made by someone he described as a ‘disgruntled acquaintance’.

Following the hearing, Health Professions Council panel chairwoman Nicola Bastin said: ‘The evidence showed that Mr Oliver’s actions were sexually motivated. The panel considered that conduct in which a paramedic used a social networking site for engaging in sexually explicit and sexually motivated messages with a minor fell well below the standards expected of a paramedic.

‘The panel finds that the registrant’s conduct fell short of the standards expected of a registered health professional.’

In a statement, Gary Oakley, managing director of Portsmouth Medical Services, said: ‘Since The News’ article in early August 2011 I can confirm that David Oliver no longer works for Portsmouth Medical Services. Once the concerns were raised about David he was suspended and left the company shortly after.

‘Portsmouth Medical Services have now introduced a safeguarding manager, along with revised policies and additional training for all staff.

‘A new recruitment structure is now in place which includes requiring potential staff members to supply professional references going back three years or more and enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks for all staff.’