London paramedic
An elderly patient with severe blood poisoning waited 20 minutes in the ambulance as a paramedic shopped at a M&S in London.Getty Images

A paramedic allegedly shopped at a Marks and Spencer store in London while an elderly patient who had collapsed from severe blood poisoning waited in the ambulance.

The paramedic, Dominic Colella, was called out on 9 March 2013 after an 85-year-old man collapsed in a queue at a London branch of a M&S store, a conduct panel heard at a hearing in Kennington, south London on 23 March.

A colleague said Colella returned to the ambulance after 20 minutes with two "full bags of shopping".

Speaking to the Health and Care Professionals Council, the fellow paramedic, Yvonne Purves said the elderly man was moved to Colella's ambulance after he regained consciousness at the store.

After waiting in the ambulance for a while, Purves grew curious about her colleague's whereabouts, the panel heard.

"The wife was understandably anxious about what had happened to her husband and was wondering why we weren't leaving to go to hospital," said Purves, reported BBC News.

"He [Colella] then came back with two full bags of shopping and loaded them into the front of the ambulance and flippantly said 'do you want to go to hospital then?'

"Obviously, I wanted to go to hospital some time ago. I waited 20 minutes for Mr Colella while alone in the ambulance."

Colella is accused of acting unethically on a second occasion where he is alleged to have gone to a hair salon instead of taking a patient suffering from a head injury to hospital.

The 40-year-old patient collapsed outside a hairdresser on 30 March 30 2013 and instead of immediately rushing him to the hospital, Colella allegedly returned to the hairdresser for a hair appointment.

His fellow paramedic Donna Blair who was also at the scene told the panel she had thought he was "just having a joke" since he had asked her earlier if she wanted a haircut and said he could do with a trim.

Colella has been working as a paramedic with the London Ambulance Service since 1996 and resigned following the M&S incident.

He faces two counts of misconduct with the Health and Care Professions Council.

He did not attend the panel hearing since he was working, the panel heard.

The hearing is to continue on 24 March and is expected to last until 26 March.