Paramedic who stole morphine is struck off
A BRISTOL paramedic who stole drugs has been struck off.
Simon Wade – who worked for Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) – stole more than 150 doses of morphine between December 2010 and April 2011 by altering patient records and forging the signatures of colleagues.
He was convicted of theft, fraud by abuse of position and possession of a class A drug at Bristol Crown Court in October and sentenced to a nine-month suspended prison sentence and 240 hours of community work.
Wade has now been struck off the Health Professions Council (HPC) register following a fitness to practise hearing, which means he can no longer work as a paramedic.
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He had already been dismissed by the ambulance service that operates in the Bristol area.
Wade was found to have taken ampoules of morphine from locked drug cabinets in ambulance stations in the Bristol area following an investigation by GWAS and Avon and Somerset Police. It was discovered that in some cases he had falsely stated on patient records that he had given them morphine and on other occasions he forged the names of ambulance service colleagues when signing out the drugs.
Wade claimed that he had started taking morphine after suffering significant back pain but then became dependent on the medication.
As a result of the incidents GWAS reviewed security around access to drugs.
The HPC panel gave Wade credit for admitting the criminal allegations and referring the case to the regulatory health body himself.
They took the decision to strike him off the register due to the "gross breach of trust", the period of time that thefts continued and the risk presented to Wade's patients and colleagues. Wade did not attend the HPC hearing in London.
Panel chairman Dr Alexander Yule said: "These convictions were of the utmost seriousness.
"They put patients at risk by Mr Wade operating as a paramedic during a period when he was self-medicating with opiates.
"The thefts were repeated over a considerable period of time and involved a significant volume of medication.
"By abusing the trust of his employer he damaged not just his own reputation but, more significantly, that of his profession.
"The effect of the convictions is not only that Mr Wade will remain subject to a suspended for approximately 16 months from today's date, but even after that period expires his professional reputation will remain tarnished to a very significant extent.
"By its very nature the work of a paramedic brings the professional into contact with members of the public.
"Even if there could be a degree of satisfaction that the underlying health problems which were said to have resulted in these offences being addressed in an appropriate manner, there would still remain the lack of integrity that resulted in the thefts of these controlled drugs and the deception that surrounded the thefts."