A RETIRED headteacher says Sat Nav devices are sending ambulance drivers down a narrow lane which is "avoided like the plague" by villagers.

Andrew MacTavish displaced his hip while giving a talk at a primary school in Lane End last month and needed an ambulance to take him to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The ex-John Hampden Grammar School head said the ambulance took the route of Bullocks Farm Lane, which is "incredibly narrow" with high hedges on either side.

Though this is the shortest route to the A40, Mr MacTavish says it is quicker to drive west out of Lane End and take Bolter End Lane, which is a bigger road.

He added: "It wasn’t life-threatening but I was in agony and it’s a very bumpy ride. The ambulance crew was brilliant but by going that route you’re going to lose about ten minutes.

"If you’re going to Stoke that’s adding precious time to the journey. And if you meet someone down there someone has to go backwards and that’s going to add more time.

"Another lady I spoke to in the post office was taken down there with a hernia."

James Keating-Wilkes, spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service [SCAS], said the ambulance Sat Navs are always programmed to find the fastest route.

But he added: "Obviously the Sat Nav is useful the majority of the time but there are incidents like this where very local knowledge can find short cuts.

"Sat Navs do need to improve in the longer term and advances in technology will hopefully mean they can pick up any quicker routes.

"If he [Mr MacTavish] would like to email in we can pass this on to our control room."

He said the summer holidays often see paramedics covering areas they are not so familiar with, so on another occasion the driver may have had more local knowledge.