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Ambulance drivers in North East England have been told to reduce their reliance on satnavs when speeding towards emergencies after too many of them arrived on scene late.

Paul Liversidge, Director of Ambulance Operations in the North East, warned that GPS gadgets should only be used as a guide. In a memo to staff, he said he wants drivers to turn instead to A to Z books and to their knowledge of local roads.

Liversidge has previously told ambulance drivers about the risk they run of getting lost or arriving late when they rely solely on satnavs to get them to emergencies, but admitted that “we continue to experience similar issues which can delay the response to patients", the memo - leaked to local paper the Evening Gazette - said.

Out of a total of 254 incidents between October 2006 and July 2008 in which Teesside ambulances were given incorrect directions, 97 of them were caused by in-ambulance satnavs, according to figures published by the paper. ®

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