Update: Paramedic cleared of misconduct charges following fatal crash near Thetford

Paramedic Fiona Turner after the Catherine Barton inquest. Photo: Bill Smith

Paramedic Fiona Turner after the Catherine Barton inquest. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

A paramedic has been cleared of misconduct at the end of a three day hearing that analysed her response to a fatal collison near Thetford.

Catherine Barton died at the scene of a head-on accident on the B1107 in 2011.

Catherine Barton died at the scene of a head-on accident on the B1107 in 2011. - Credit: Archant

Fiona Turner denied accusations of lack of competence and that her fitness to practice was impaired during an incident two years ago where she was the first East of England Ambulance Service medic at the scene of a two car head-on collision.

The paramedic was accused by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) of misconduct by not carrying out basic checks on 27-year-old Catherine Barton following the crash on August 5, 2011 near Thetford Golf Club.

However, an independent panel today cleared Miss Turner of misconduct.

The panel found three allegations proven, which were that the paramedic did not attempt to cardiac monitor the patient, that she did not start resuscitation of Miss Barton until she was in an ambulance and that she did not request back up from a manager, doctor or critical care professional.

You may also want to watch:

However, the panel said the findings did not amount to misconduct or justify finding her practice impaired.

Miss Turner was accused of failing to recognise the time criticality and deterioration of Miss Barton and accused of not ordering the removal of the patient quick enough. Miss Barton died at 12.22am after being trapped in her Ford Ka for more than 90 minutes.

Most Read

The HCPC also said that the paramedic did not organise and prioritise resources on the scene as the lead paramedic and did not manage the scene in a timely manner. However, the panel found those allegations not proven.

Ray Pattison, chairman of the panel, said: 'The panel has concluded that not monitoring Patient A [Catherine Barton] by using a cardiac monitor did fall below the standard expected of a registered paramedic. However, in the context of the other monitoring undertaken, the panel does not consider that it is misconduct sufficiently serious to justify a finding of impairment.'

'The panel does not consider the fact that Miss Turner did not request backup from a doctor or critical care professional to amount to misconduct. This is because the panel consider that it is reasonable to rely on the fact that she knew the police had requested a doctor and she was not to know that the control room would not act on the police request.'

The hearing heard from firefighters on the scene who claimed that Miss Turner had not monitored the patient. However, the panel said the firefighters either misinterpreted what they saw or did not see the monitoring because of the nature of the incident.

Kate Annand, representing Miss Turner, said the medic was doing the best she could under extreme pressure as the only paramedic on scene with three time-critical patients.

She added that Miss Turner had monitored the patient and had begun removing her from the car once enough ambulances were on scene. She was also told by a police office that a doctor had been requested.

'She was trying very hard to meet many needs with a lack of resources. This one event is not representative of her normal practice and not a fair sample of her work. A former line manager for seven years has described her as having a very high standard of work and pays special attention to detail.'

'The last two years have been difficult and challenging,' she said.

The conduct and competence committee was told that Miss Turner, who has worked for a private ambulance firm for six months, had gone on a number of self-funded training courses to improve her knowledge and skills following the incident.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter