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Shropshire paramedic on 999 call 'drove at 25mph'

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A Shropshire paramedic drove slowly without his blue lights flashing while answering an emergency 999 call for a patient suffering with chest pains, a hearing heard.

A Shropshire paramedic drove slowly without his blue lights flashing while answering an emergency 999 call for a patient suffering with chest pains, a hearing heard.

Darren Lapping, of Chapel Road in Hadnall, near Shrewsbury, is said to have "delayed the emergency response" by driving at less than 30mph to the patient's address. Lapping later "dishonestly" said he was slowed by road blockages, it was said.

He claimed pedestrians and a taxi blocked the road at about 3.30am on July 23, 2009.

The medic appeared before the Health Professions Council in Southwark, south London, yesterday accused of misconduct while working for West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The panel heard the target time for a category A call is eight minutes, but Lapping's sluggishness caused a five minute delay.

Lapping, based at Shrewsbury Ambulance Station, is said to have lied about his actions when interviewed during a formal investigation into the matter.

He claimed there were "obstructions in the road" and that he had used the blue lights to alert other road users of the emergency.

It is claimed on receiving the call, it took Lapping nearly three minutes to 'mobilise'.

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Investigator David Jervis, an experienced paramedic, viewed CCTV footage of the incident. He told the HPC: "It was my estimation of the whole journey that the ambulance speed was 25 miles per hour."

And he admitted there was no "adverse effect" to the patient.

Lapping has not admitted any of the allegations. He told investigators he slowed down as he came across a drunken man who asked for help, the panel heard.

But independent officer Robert Marsh said at no point in the 12 minutes and 46 seconds it took to get to the patient's address did the ambulance tracking system detect the vehicle stopped.

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The hearing had to be adjourned for a second time due to a lack of time. The panel will resume on a date yet to be fixed.

Lapping now faces a wait to learn his fate. If found guilty he could be cautioned, suspended or struck off.

By Russell Roberts

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