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Ambulance shortage sparks rumpus

A FARNBOROUGH man is furious after he had to take his sick wife between two hospitals because there were no ambulances available.

To add insult to injury, Leslie Lockie was given a speeding ticket as he drove his stricken wife for urgent attention.

Mr Lockie's double blow happened when wife Julie fell ill after an operation to remove a lesion from her forehead on June 17.

The operation appeared to be a success, but within 48 hours her face had begun to swell and early on Thursday morning her husband rang the doctor, who advised him to take her to hospital immediately.

Mr Lockie, 59, of Middleton Gardens, said: "We rang at seven in the morning and the on-call doctor said: ‘take my advice and get her to the hospital straight away'."

Mr Lockie drove his wife to their nearest hospital, Frimley Park, where they waited an hour before a doctor saw them.

The five stitches which Mrs Lockie, 53, had after the operation caused poisons to build under her skin and her whole face was now badly swollen.

However, despite Mrs Lockie's condition being serious, Frimley Park doctors told the couple she would have to go to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, where she had the operation.

Having waited an hour to see a doctor at Frimley Park, and then being told they must go to the Royal Surrey, Mr Lockie was told it might be two or three hours before an ambulance became available and it would be quicker to drive his wife there.

Mr Lockie said the doctor at Frimley Park gave him a letter to hand in at the Royal Surrey's Accident and Emergency department and told him they were expecting his wife.

Mrs Lockie had one of the stitches removed to release the pressure around her face within an hour of arriving at the Royal Surrey.

But on the way there Mr Lockie was caught speeding. A camera caught him driving at 44mph in a 30mph zone of the A325 Farnborough Road.

"I got a letter on the Saturday morning saying that I was speeding on Thursday at 9.25am," said Mr Lockie.

"I am not going to deny it. I am going to return the form and tell them why I was driving at that speed. I am hoping that they will take it into consideration. The circumstances were not normal."

Mrs Lockie is appalled that her husband got a speeding ticket when he was doing an ambulance's job.

She said: "I was so worried about what had happened to me, I was crying. It's not like we were going 90mph!"

"It was important to get to Royal Surrey because of the poison building up in my body. He was the ambulance that morning," she added.

A Surrey Ambulance Service spokesman said: "If Frimley Park requested an ambulance then an ambulance would have been sent straight away."

He added that Mrs Lockie would have had to wait because doctors would not have considered her situation important enough to warrant an ambulance immediately.

John Riddell, of the Hampshire Police central ticket office, said they could look into Mr Lockie's case but it would be for Aldershot magistrates to decide whether to let him off a fixed penalty.

Frimley Park Hospital had not commented by the time we went to press.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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