When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Review ordered into sacking of volunteer first responder
OXFORDSHIRE’S ambulance service has launched a review into the sacking of a volunteer who broke the speed limit on his way to an emergency.
Godfrey Smith had volunteered for the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) for 15 years until July, when he was told he had “breached road traffic law” on his way to helping a man in St Clement’s, Oxford, who had collapsed with breathing problems.
On Friday, he met SCAS chief executive Will Hancock at the service’s Bicester headquarters, who agreed to the review into Mr Smith’s sacking.
The 64-year-old, from Faringdon – known as Gof – said: “I accept that I made a mistake and I accept the seriousness of it, but I think the punishment was brutal.
“He said he considered this to be very serious but he has agreed to review the situation and get back to me. I think he was very fair. I honestly don’t know what to expect out of this.”
He has been told a decision will be made at some point this week.
It has now emerged that Mr Smith has also been nominated for a community award for his work as a community first responder by the Vale of the White Horse District Council, which he says he is “chuffed” about.
Matthew Barber, leader of the district council, said: “I have written to the chief executive of SCAS to ask him to reconsider the decision. I have known Gof for many years and he is a particularly dedicated person who is well liked in the community. It seems he has been rather harshly treated.”
On July 23, Mr Smith was called from Carfax to St Clement’s to a man who collapsed with breathing problems.
He jumped in his marked SCAS Land Rover and, on his way, pulled up alongside an RAF responder car at the lights by Longwall Street to ask if they were also attending.
He said that following the conversation, he drove around the bollard to get ahead of the traffic, but that at no point was anyone at risk.
Following a complaint about his conduct, it was discovered on Mr Smith’s satellite navigation system that he was travelling at 33mph in the 20mph zone.
Since he was sacked, around 1,500 people have signed a petition to have Mr Smith reinstated and his 19-year-old son, Matthew, has resigned as a responder.
SCAS spokesman Michelle Archer said the trust would not comment while the review was taking place.
Comments are closed on this article.