A FATHER whose son died after ambulance workers refused to abandon a tea break today condemned another 999 crew for going shopping while on a call.
It emerged yesterday that ambulance chiefs are investigating a whistleblower’s claim that a worker diverted from a doctor’s call to shop at PC World in Dunfermline, Fife.
The allegations have shocked Martin Gray and his wife Lisa who have been battling to change the rules on break times of ambulance workers since their son died last year.
In April 2011, three-year-old Martyn woke up in the middle of the night, struggling to breathe.
He died after rescue workers based just ten minutes from their home in Crieff, Perthshire, refused to attend the 2.30am call as they were on their tea-break.
The family had to wait for 48 minutes before paramedics from Stirling arrived but by then it was too late for Martyn.
Mr Gray said incidents like the one revealed this week in Dunfermline ”completely undermine” their work.
He said: “It’s terrible to hear about this kind of thing happening considering what we were put through.
“If you want to take on the role of paramedic, that should be your sole priority while you are on-shift, not catching up on your Christmas shopping.
“When you are in charge of an ambulance, you should be doing nothing more than picking up a patient and taking them straight to hospital.
“This sort of thing completely undermines what we are trying to do and is just outrageous.
“I think it is time for the Scottish Ambulance Service to pay closer attention to its paramedics and ensure they are doing their jobs properly.”
Dunfermline and West Fife MP Thomas Docherty, said: “I was horrified to learn of this incident and the suggestion that patient care may have been put at risk by the actions of this member of staff.
“I have written to the chief executive of NHS Fife requesting a meeting once the facts of this case have been established.”
Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker said: “I am shocked. Urgent means urgent — if an ambulance crew made a detour to anywhere, that is just wrong.”
In October 2010 Mandy Mathieson died of a heart attack at her home in the remote village of Tomintoul, Moray.
An ambulance technician just 800 yards from her home chose not to respond to a 999 call because he was on a tea break.
In July 2011 crew members of the Scottish Ambulance Service rejected an annual handout of £250 to respond to calls even if they are on a break.
The Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We are investigating an instance of unauthorised diversion during a response to a non-emergency call.
“While patient care was not affected, it did not meet the high standards of professionalism that our patients expect and is currently being dealt with internally in an appropriate manner.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We would expect the Scottish Ambulance Service to thoroughly investigate any such matter and welcome confirmation that they are doing so.”