NHS trust HR assistant director officially warned over booze cruise

An NHS assistant director of HR helped to adapt a health trust car to go on a ‘booze cruise’ to France, it has emerged.

Richard Lane, together with service director of the West Midlands Air Ambulance, Paul Leaman, were found guilty of misconduct after they removed seats in an uninsured people carrier to cram in more drink on their trip across the channel. The cost was charged back to the health trust.

Leaman was suspended for a year, and Lane given an official warning, after the Health Professions Council (HPC) concluded, at a hearing in London, that they were not sorry for their behaviour.

In a separate incident, Leaman gave business to a firm run by a friend instead of following a tender process, the hearing heard.

When whistleblower Paul Holmes exposed the men’s behaviour to bosses at the Essex Ambulance Service NHS Trust, he was “bullied and victimised” by his managers, the HPC was told.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said bosses would study the wording of the decision before commenting.

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