Paramedic Suspended For Laughing Gas

Team Leader Nigel Moore seen breathing in laughing gas while on duty in a work car.

The East Midlands Ambulance paramedic was seen breathing in Entonox as he left an Ambulance station and got into his car on September 9 last year, a panel of the Health Professionals Council (HPC) Conduct and Competence Committee heard.

A report from the panel said: ``As the Registrant left the ambulance station, in a Vauxhall Vectra East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Fast Response Vehicle, he was observed holding an Entonox demand valve in his mouth with one hand, and the other on the steering wheel.

``Entonox is a gas which contains 50% oxygen and 50% nitrus oxide and is administered for pain relief.''

When Mr Moore got out of his vehicle he was seen to be unsteady on his feet; his speech slurred and he had the appearance of being intoxicated, the panel was told.

The Panel also heard that Mr Moore, who had worked for the ambulance service for 28 years, admitted to using Entonox and asked to be given a second chance.

He was based at Heath Ambulance station in Derbyshire and was a team leader, meaning he was responsible for managing junior staff, responding to emergency calls and managing vehicle and equipment problems.

He was later stood down from his duties and was suspended from the Trust.

The report from the panel said Moore had been abusing Entonox for a few months, since the beginning of May 2010, but he alleged that this was not frequent, and that this had been brought about by depression, stress and work pressures.

Panel chair Derek Adrian-Harris said: ``This was not a one off event; on his own admission the Registrant had been abusing Entonox for a period of up to five months.

``There is sufficient evidence before the Panel to determine that the Registrant has addressed the issues or shown insight into his behaviour.

``The Registrant was in a position of trust which he abused by using the Entonox, and set a very poor example to his junior colleagues. He has brought the profession into disrepute.

``There was a real risk that patients could have been put at risk, given the condition in which the Registrant was found.'' The panel decided the most appropriate action was to suspend Mr Moore from the Register for a period of 12 months, with an interim suspension order in place to cover the appeal period.

Mr Moore was neither present nor represented at the hearing.