Often when there is a bit of news about an ambulance service in the news I'll try to expand on the reporting by suggesting ways in which a, perhaps short-sighted, bit of journalism is obscuring the probable truth.
I don't do this just to provide 'balance', in some idealistic 'everyone who has an opinion is equally important' fashion, but instead to give as much of a voice to a member of staff or Trust that can't necessarily be as blunt as I can.
This goes doubly so for some of the more lurid tabloid reporting.
However, in this particular case, I can't think of any reason why the person involved in this shouldn't be fired.
The driver complained to a colleague that he was 15 minutes past the end of his duty and wanted to clock off. He got out of the ambulance without even telling his replacement there was a cricically <sic> sick case being tended by another medic in the back.
The new driver sped on to hospital as quickly as he could – but the detour had added half a mile and four crucial minutes to the journey. The patient, who had suffered a stroke, deteriorated during the drive and died of a suspected heart attack soon after arriving at A&E.
While I doubt that the four extra minutes travel time contributed to the death of the patient (although that isn't a certainty) there is no way that this is acceptable behaviour. If this story is true (and while the News of the World isn't exactly a top quality paper, I doubt they'd make this story up) then the driver has no excuse for their actions.
It's part of our job to sometimes be off late, we try not to be but in some cases it's unavoidable. I've been late off work more times than I can count, in fact it's the norm that I'm at least five or ten minutes off late.
To impact patient care in such a fashion in order to get off on time is frankly criminal and the person involved should have the book thrown at them.