WEST Yorkshire's ambulance service has been slammed after a confidential report exposed a shocking culture of sexism and racism in stations run by a male "mafia" of workers.
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (WYMAS) - one of the biggest in the country, serving more than two million people - is accused of being intimidating and threatening to female staff.
The leaked internal report was commissioned by the ambulance NHS trust after a sexual harassment case led to a series of blunders that is likely to result in the claim being settled with a six-figure payout.
The report was based on interviews with senior personnel.
A female worker complained in 2002 of a campaign of abuse and sexual comments had been going on for 14 months.
But the service failed to follow their own rules on sexual harassment.
It dropped its usual disciplinary procedure suddenly on the order of senior management after only two months.
The sexual harassment allegation concerned the ambulance service's southern district, which includes Dewsbury, Castleford, Wakefield and South Kirkby.
The report, compiled by director Steve Jackson, also alleges that porn films were shown at ambulance stations and says the service has clear problems which are "sexual and racial in nature".
Shocked MPs have demanded the service take immediate action to implement the recommendations in the report, which calls for a complete overhaul of its harassment policies.
Wakefield Labour MP David Hinchliffe, chairman of the Commons health select committee, said the issues must be tackled urgently.
He said: "This report gives an impression of a culture I rather hoped we had left behind within our public services some time ago.
"I think the contents of the report are an urgent reminder of the need to ensure that staff at all levels are helped to dev- lop proper working relationships and that allegations of harassment are dealt with promptly, seriously and sensitively."
The report blames the decision to drop formal disciplinary action on either the then chief executive Trevor Molton, who has since been sacked and investigated for fraud, or Steve Griffin, the human resources director who has since left to work for another trust.
The move was contrary to the trust's usual procedures and was described as a "whitewash" by the manager that initially investigated the claims.
Ralph Berry, WYMAS NHS Trust chairman, said he was unable to comment.