London Ambulance Service trust has suspended two managers following an industrial tribunal finding in favour of two workers sacked after a damning report by the managers into their conduct.

LAS launched an internal investigation last week after the tribunal found that Bob Foster and Jim McGregor, sacked three years ago for gross misconduct, were unfairly dismissed.

The men were disciplined following a report into their alleged involvement with a 999 call in 1994 on behalf of a man who had collapsed in a north London supermarket. An ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive and the man later died in hospital.

There was no evidence that the man would have lived had the ambulance arrived sooner, but an internal inquiry was conducted under LAS procedure.

The incident received unexpected publicity, happening shortly after the death of east Londoner Nasima Begum following a one-hour wait for an ambulance.

Tom Sackville, then junior health minister with responsibility for the ambulance service, wrote to former LAS chief executive Martin Gorham demanding an explanation for the delay.

North-west London divisional director David Carrington and operations manager Ashley Barrett conducted an internal investigation and the two crew members were disciplined.

The managers alleged that the men had received three messages telling them to answer the call but had turned the volume of their radio down because it was 10 minutes before the end of their shift. The tribunal found there was no evidence of this, and the men were able to show that they were seeking after-hours work at the time.

The tribunal left Unison and LAS to decide reparations between them. Unison wants the men to be offered reinstatement.

A statement from LAS said two senior managers were suspended on 23 February following publication of a decision by an industrial tribunal. The suspensions were made 'without prejudice, in accordance with standard procedure', pending an internal investigation.

Unison's LAS representative, Phil Thompson, said: 'The chief executive's actions in starting an inquiry and suspending the two managers are entirely proper. If he hadn't done that there would have been an outcry among staff.'

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