AN ambulance operations manager offered to go to the scene of the blast at Manchester Arena but was put in charge of parking instead, the inquiry into the attack has heard.

Derek Poland, an operational commander from North West Ambulance Service, was on call on May 22 2017 and made his way to the arena following the attack at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, the inquiry heard on Monday.

Mr Poland said when he arrived at the arena at 11pm he spoke to colleagues Dan Smith, who became the operational commander, and Paddy Ennis, who was the first paramedic to go into the City Room, where suicide bomber Salman Abedi had detonated the device which killed 22 people and injured hundreds of others.

He agreed that it was an "unsatisfactory state of affairs" that Mr Ennis was the only paramedic in the City Room for a period of time.

Mr Poland said he spoke to Mr Smith and offered to go into the area to support Mr Ennis but the offer was turned down and he was given the role of parking point officer.

He said: "I was needed to help set up command and control within the foyer."

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: "At the time, bearing in mind you knew Paddy Ennis wouldn't be able to cope on his own, did you think that was a mistake?"

Mr Poland said: "No, I knew others would be coming shortly afterwards."

The inquiry heard the Hazardous Area Response Team (Hart), which Mr Poland was expecting to join Mr Ennis, arrived at the scene at about 11.15pm and only two members of the team went to the City Room.

Mr Greaney asked: "You were highly experienced as a paramedic and senior within the organisation, was putting you in charge of parking the best use of your abilities and experience that night?"

Mr Poland replied: "I think so, yes, because we need to get the vehicles to scene, we need to get the vehicles away from scene, we need to make sure the teams are briefed properly so that they can go and treat the casualties."

He said it was not satisfactory that only three paramedics entered the City Room that night.

He added: "It isn't, I think it needed more within that room but they needed to go in there together."

But he said none of the paramedics who went into the room made him aware that they were struggling or needed more help.

Mr Greaney said: "Is it not obvious someone in a command role ought to have gone into that room to find out how those three were coping?"

Mr Poland said yes.

He also told the inquiry there were problems with communications over the radios and mobile phones were used instead.