Clacton paramedic suspended for posting pictures of patients on Instagram with inappropriate comments
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A “naive and unintelligent” paramedic who posted pictures online of car crashes with comments including “you’ve got to laugh” and “idiot” has been suspended.
Simon Williams, who worked for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), put pictures on the social media site Instagram from incidents the Clacton paramedic attended.
Some included graphic pictures of large pools of blood, with comments such as “bloodbath”, while in one he falsely claimed there had been a stabbing. Others revealed patients’ personal information or details of their care, breaching confidentiality rules.
Others included a car crash scene with the comment “got to laugh sometimes” and at a lorry collision he wrote “no-one died at this one”, while he took one image of a patient on the ambulance floor with the comment “whoops”.
Williams put up the pictures in December 2014 in a bid to draw more people to his online jewellery business, a conduct and competence committee of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) was told.
EEAST began disciplinary proceedings with Williams when they were made aware of them by someone on Twitter, and referred the matter to the HCPC.
During an interview with the trust Williams said he had not thought about the consequences at the time and admitted he had been “stupid”.
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He said some of the posts “reflected 18 years of frustration at public misuse of emergency services and A&E departments”, but agreed they were “offensive, frightening and highly unprofessional”.
The HCPC panel described the comments as “misguided and unintelligent”, and called Williams “naive”.
The panel agreed Williams had not acted maliciously, and that he had expressed regret and remorse.
Williams has 11 years’ service with the trust, including six as a paramedic, and was dismissed in April last year.
He was suspended for one year by the HCPC, but avoided being struck off as the panel felt it would be “disproportionate and punitive” given his length of service without incident, and as his actions had not involved any clinical care or malpractice.
Williams did not attend the hearing, but agreed for it to go ahead in his absence.