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Volunteer was ‘fined’ after rushing poorly girl to hospital

Anger : James Quinn, of Morecambe, was upset when he received abill for the London congestion charge

Anger : James Quinn, of Morecambe, was upset when he received abill for the London congestion charge

A volunteer NHS driver was billed £120 for failing to pay a congestion charge while taking a sick baby to Great Ormond Street hospital.

James Quinn, of Lines Street in Morecambe, was hit with the fine days after driving a 10-month old girl to the leading London children’s hospital for a brain operation.

Mr Quinn, 67, contacted Morecambe MP David Morris, who raised the issue in Parliament.

Now the charge, levied to motorists who drive into London’s congestion zone, has been waived.

“I was really upset and lost a few hours’ sleep over it,” said Mr Quinn.

“If this is how the powers-that-be treat volunteers, there won’t be many more volunteers.”

Mr Quinn set off from Morecambe with the sick girl and her mum at around 7am on May 15.

“By the time I got to London, the baby had been in the car for seven hours,” said Mr Quinn, who regularly drives sick children to hospitals including Christies in Manchester and the Westmorland General. I couldn’t find anywhere to pay the £12 charge and it was more important to get her to hospital. The following day, I went to Morecambe police station for advice on how to pay the charge. One of the officers said I could pay 24 hours later by the internet.

“But I’m a 67-year-old bricklayer, what do I know about computers?

“I tried to pay it at a computer shop and over the phone by credit card and they said I was too late. Then I got hit with a £120 fine, which is an increase of 1,000 per cent.

“I went to my MP and within 36 hours it had been sorted out. I was very impressed with how he handled it.”

Mr Morris said volunteer NHS drivers like Mr Quinn should not have to pay the London congestion charge at all.

“People like Mr Quinn should be commended not fined,” he said.

 

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