An ambulance paramedic based in Spalding has had his registration to work in the care sector suspended for eight months for squeezing a colleague’s breast and touching her bottom inappropriately.
A Health and Care Professions Council hearing in London heard that Joel Warwick, who was dismissed from the East Midlands Ambulance Service in May 2015, also asked the woman to “bend over” to watch her refill a photocopier.
The woman, known as Colleague A, said she had given Mr Warwick a hug when he said he needed one at the ambulance station based at Johnson Community Hospital and admits she said it was “naughty” of them to do it, but was “very upset” by what followed.
Mr Warwick tried to kiss her on at least one occasion, and told her that he “needed a hug”.
The pair were not known to each other bfore the incidents.
Colleague A claimed that Mr Warwick took a pen which she had hooked in the ‘V’ of her blouse and squeezed her breast before groping her bottom with one hand.
Mr Warwick was then said to have asked Colleague A to bend over the photocopying machine so he could watch her change the paper.
Mr Warwick started working at Spalding Ambulance Station in August 2014 and said he had “engaged in flirtatious behaviour” with the woman.
Since the incident two years ago, Mr Warwick has apologised to the complainant for his behaviour. The Panel considered that he did not fully understand that something could be both consensual and inappropriate at the same time and took into account that he had undertaken a course as well as online research into equality and diversity.
They also noted that Mr Warwick had “an otherwise unblemished career”, and that his actions were “out of character”, but in light of his limited insight and early stages of remediation, the Panel determined that there was a risk of repetition of inappropriate behaviour.
The panel believed that Mr Warwick had demonstrated limited insight into how his actions transgressed professional boundaries and determined that his misconduct was so serious that the need to uphold professional standards and public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made in the circumstances.
Tina Richardson, deputy director of human resources at the East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We pride ourselves on providing a high level of care to our patients and maintaining quality standards in everything we do. When a staff member doesn’t abide by our own trust values and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) codes of conduct action will be taken to ensure patients are protected.”