Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Paramedic 'bullied over naturism'

Ambulance [generic]
Allegations against Mrs Armitage date back to 2002

A paramedic accused of misconduct was bullied at work because of being a naturist, a hearing has been told.

Angela Armitage, who works at Honley Ambulance Station near Huddersfield, is accused of stealing money from patients between 2003 and 2007.

Colleague Pat Kenworthy told the Health Professions' Council committee that a small group of employees had gossiped about Mrs Armitage's lifestyle.

She told the HPC Mrs Armitage had been the victim of "malicious backstabbing".

Ms Kenworthy told the conduct and competence committee she had worked with Mrs Armitage for 20 years and her behaviour at work was perfectly normal.

Asked what aspect of her lifestyle attracted comment, she replied: "That she is a naturist."

He just seemed to think it was highly amusing and the more upset I got about it the worse he became
Angela Armitage

She added that some members of staff questioned whether Mrs Armitage had visited a local sex club.

She said: "Angela is very professional, she has been in the last 20 years I've known her a very trustworthy lady who has helped me fundraise and collect money."

Mrs Armitage told the hearing that she had a particularly strained relationship with one of her colleagues, Simon Rochell, who repeatedly suggested she should retire so he could take over her job.

She said: "He also made a great number of remarks about my personal life which Mrs Kenworthy has already explained.

"He just seemed to think it was highly amusing and the more upset I got about it the worse he became."

Lack of evidence

Mr Rochell, who has not attended the hearing, was one of two staff members who wrote directly to the HPC with their concerns about Mrs Armitage.

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

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

Following this, Mrs 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.

The hearing continues.

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