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G4S staff discussed beating up Sheppey patient on voicemail

By Ellis Stephenson

Two ambulance transport drivers have been suspended after leaving a voicemail on a patient's phone talking about beating him with a fire extinguisher.

G4S phoned the patient, who does not want to be named, last Wednesday to say they would be arriving in 10 minutes to pick him up for his hospital appointment.

The crew was taking him to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford from his home on the Isle of Sheppey for an MRI scan.

After they said they would be a few minutes, the two staff members failed to end the recording - which lasted for more than four minutes - before discussing unhooking a fire extinguisher to use as a weapon against him if he became violent.

In the voicemail, one of the workers said: "He’s homeless, he’s aggressive, he’s suicidal, so he ain’t gonna be the best, is he?

"You don’t need to take him if you don’t feel safe with him.

"That’s why we’ve got the fire extinguisher. Take it off the hook now and you’ve got something to hit him with.

G4S patient transport service
G4S patient transport service

"You’d rather be prosecuted, wouldn’t you, for beating a patient to a pulp than that patient beating you to a pulp, wouldn’t you, as a choice of the two?"

The other operative confers and the driver adds: "D’you want a broken arm, a broken jaw, black eyes, or do you want to beat someone and then get prosecuted? You could still say it was self-defence.

"Least you’re able to sit in your garden. You wouldn’t be able to get into your garden with a broken leg, would you?"

Speaking to KentOnline the patient said: "On Friday, two of the area managers came around to apologise and assure me all the correct measures would be taken to investigate.

"I get the feeling they attempted a show of apology in the hope that I wouldn't go to the press.

"When I received the voicemail, I had a bad day the day before and contemplated hanging myself.

"I've never been violent towards them, I would never hurt them."

Managing director of G4S Patient Transport Services, Russell Hobbs, said: "We are appalled by these comments. We have apologised unreservedly to the patient and the employees concerned have been suspended pending a full internal investigation.

"We are appalled by these comments" - G4S Patient Transport Services managing director, Russell Hobbs

"The comments are completely unacceptable and do not represent our values or the views of the rest of our hardworking team."

Deputy managing director at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Stuart Jeffery, which commissions patient transport services in Kent and Medway, said: "This is a completely unacceptable incident but we welcome G4S’s swift action in suspending the employees involved and launching a full investigation.

"Although we will be monitoring the situation closely with G4S, we believe this is a performance issue with specific individuals rather than with the service as a whole."

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

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