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AWOL satnav system leads to ambulance joyride

12 mile transfer turns into 240 mile debacle

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Two ambulance drivers' unswerving obedience to their satnav system ended up turning a 30 minute hospital transfer into an eight hour, 430 mile wild goose chase.

The crew were supposed to be moving a male mental patient from King George hospital in Ilford to Mascalls Park hospital near Brentwood, a 12 mile journey, but a faulty satnav system directed the London Ambulance crew 200 miles off course - and they ended up in Warley, Manchester.

According to paramedic.org.uk, the newish crew, who reportedly had not done this trip before, left King George hospital at 3am and were noticed missing by control at 7am, who queried if everything was okay. The crew then fessed up that they " appeared to be a little bit lost".

A spokesman for the ambulance service told the Manchester Evening News that: "We believe that the crew, who had not been to this particular hospital before, followed the directions given by the navigation system, without manually confirming their destination. We understand that they reached the outskirts of Manchester before realising they were heading to the wrong destination.

"The patient was in a comfortable condition at all times while in our care and he arrived safely at Mascalls Park Hospital early that afternoon.

"The problem with the navigation database is also now being fixed."

Which is good news.

A sat nav system wreaked similar havoc back in May when an ambulance took almost 90 minutes to take an injured girl to hospital, in what should have been a 10 minute journey.

A recent head-to-head trial between satnavs and conventional maps found that a traditional atlas was the quickest way to navigate, as reported by The Daily Express.

The test by consumer group Which? found that two people using an atlas could reach their destination eight per cent faster than those relying on a satnav. ®

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