Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Paramedic 'stole from patients'

Ambulance [generic]
Allegations against Ms Armitage date back to 2002.

A paramedic accused of stealing money from patients has been facing misconduct charges at a tribunal in West Yorkshire.

Complaints against Angela Armitage, who worked at Honley Ambulance Station near Huddersfield, dated back to 2002.

A committee at the Health Professions Council (HPC) heard how Ms Armitage would sit behind the driver where she had access to patients' belongings.

Several of Ms Armitage's colleagues wrote to the HPC about her behaviour.

Ms Armitage had worked in the Huddersfield area since 1978.

Robert Eastwood, a manager at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, told the hearing how a member of the public complained to him in December 2003 alleging that a member of his staff had taken money from her mother.

Police investigation

However, the allegation was dropped when the money was found two weeks later.

Following this, Ms Armitage was investigated by police three times in connection with allegations of theft.

But the inquiries were dropped because of a lack of evidence, the committee was told.

Mr Eastwood told the hearing how one colleague of Ms Armitage requested a transfer away from the station because of worries about her.

He said other co-workers felt the allegations affected their ability to do their jobs properly.

"They were extremely concerned because they felt it was only a matter of time before another allegation was made."

"They felt, in their words, they did not want their names blackened", he said.

Suspicious behaviour

Paramedic Ian Robinson, who had made complaints about Ms Armitage's behaviour, told the tribunal there was no "hard evidence" she had ever stolen from a patient.

The tribunal heard how Mr Robinson had been suspended along with Ms Armitage in 2007 following allegations of theft but nothing was ever proved in the case.

He said he had made complaints about Ms Armitage after becoming suspicious about her behaviour in the middle of 2008.

He told the committee he had seen Ms Armitage regularly speaking to patients, especially elderly women, about their belongings before taking them into the ambulance.

When asked if he had proof of his allegations Mr Robinson said: "There's no hard evidence."

The hearing continues.

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