Jun 10 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A TEAM of paramedics were sacked after THEY were attacked by a violent patient.
Robert Kidd and his partner Julie Hose were left with broken bones following theassault in the back of their ambulance.
And the prolific offender responsible was jailed for five months over the incident.
But despite that, Robert and Julie were told by EMAIL that they were being dismissed from the job they love.
The shock sacking came because Robert took a nine second recording of Marie Bennett’s torrent of verbal and physical abuse, thinking it would stop them getting into trouble with bosses.
Robert said: “I’ve been in the ambulance service for 28 years and I’ve never even been late.”
His colleague, mum-of-one Julie, 37, also had an unblemished record throughout her six years of service.
Patna woman Bennett, 42, pleaded guilty at Ayr Sheriff Court to assaulting Julie on August 22 last year and was sentenced to 163 days in jail.
Despite no complaint being made against Robert and Julie by either Bennett or the police, Scottish Ambulance Service chiefs sacked them.
They appealed the decision, but it was knocked back last month.
Robert now fears his community will suffer, as the Doon Valley based crew have not been replaced.
The 50-year-old, who lives in Dalmellington, explained how his nightmare began.
He said: “We got called to a woman who had fallen from a ground floor window. When we got there she said she had pain in her lower back but refused treatment.
“Eventually we managed to persuade her to walk to the ambulance and we set off for Ayr Hospital.
“I was in the back with her when she started a torrent of abuse. When I got up to open the doors at the hospital she knocked me clean off my feet.
“After that she calmed down but then she started directing her abuse at Julie, grabbing her hair and pulling clumps of it out.
“While we were trying to restrain her, a man that I now know to be a psychiatricpatient appeared at the back of the ambulance and shouted that we were hitting her.”
Robert admits he panicked out of fear that he and Julie would come under suspicion of assaulting Bennett.
So he took out his phone and made a short recording as evidence. After the police turned up and arrested Bennett, Robert and Julie were both treated for their injuries.
Robert suffered fractured ribs and had a brain scan for a head injury, while Julie ended up with a broken wrist.
It was while they were off sick that ambulance chiefs learned about the recording and the pair received word that they were suspended.
Following an appeal, they were emailed to tell them they were sacked.
Robert is now in discussions with his lawyer with a view to taking the Scottish Ambulance Service to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Doon Valley Councillor Drew Filson has expressed his concern over Robert and Julie’s situation.
He told the Post: “Julie and Robert have doubtless saved hundreds of lives over the years and they both do a lot for this community outwith their role as paramedics.
“They have been devastated over this. As far I can see it’s political correctness gone mad, there’s been no common sense applied here.
Cllr Filson continued: “I’m deeply concerned about cover in the Doon Valley area now. There is now only one crewcovering the area and we rely on crews coming from elsewhere when they are not on duty. Lives could be lost.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Two members of staff were dismissed following a full disciplinary process.
“As soon as the vacancies occurred, the recruitment process was started so that the positions will be filled as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, staff are being brought in from other stations in the area to support the existing team and to ensure that there is always cover in place.
“Every effort is made to ensure that two staff are always on shift, however there are some occasions when the cover is provided by one member of staff, who can respond quickly to any local incident and will be supported by another crew responding from Ayr.”