Disabled woman has to walk to JR for op

Dave and Marguerita Gibbard who got stuck in traffic going to the JR Hospital, Oxford NNL-190930-145008001
Dave and Marguerita Gibbard who got stuck in traffic going to the JR Hospital, Oxford NNL-190930-145008001

A disabled woman with limited mobility had to get out of her husband’s car to struggle to the John Radcliffe Hospital on foot because of traffic congestion.

Marguerite Gibbard, 73, who has an arthritic condition and has undergone numerous operations, says she had no choice but to leave the car and walk.

She was due to have a procedure and an orthopaedic professor was waiting for her in the clinic.

“We had left home in Bloxham in plenty of time for a 1.3opm appointment and it took us half an hour to get to Headington,” said her husband David Gibbard.

“From there is was inch by inch and after two hours we had no choice but for Marguerite to get out and walk.”

Mrs Gibbard said it was fortunate her son had decided to accompany them in case of problems - which there were.

“Our son came along in case the light was bad when we left as Dave doesn’t like to drive in the dark.

“It was just as well as I had a case with my dressing gown in it with me and I walk with a stick.

“When I got to the clinic, the nurse told me the professor was already waiting for me. We would have missed my appointment completely if we’d had to wait in the queue.”

Mr Gibbard said a friend had brought his companion for a consultant appointment the previous week.

“He also had a two-hour wait to get into the car park and by the time he hadgot in there and was going round looking for a space, his friend had had his appointment and he didn’t need to find a parking spot.”

Mr Gibbard - a keen walker - made news 12 years ago when he walked from the JR to the Horton and raised £1,000 for the Keep the Horton General campaign fund.

He has undertaken many charity walks including one with cricketer Ian Botham.

Jason Dorsett, Executive Director at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We recognise the current car parking situation at the JR is not satisfactory as there are frequently queues to access our car parks.

“We are very sorry for people who’ve experienced problems at what can often already be a difficult or anxious time.

“We have already taken a number of measures to alleviate pressure on parking. We relocated the majority of our administrative staff to Cowley to reduce travel to our site. We have also moved services into the community and are moving as many outpatient and day surgery appointments as we can to the Horton so patients in the north don’t have to travel to Oxford.

“We will continue to investigate various internal and external measures to ease the pressure on parking at the JR.”

Mr Dorsett said the trust was working on installing automatic number plate recognition at the JR and Churchill hospitals, which they anticipate will improve the flow of traffic.

“Wherever possible we would encourage our patients to use public transport,” he said. “There are several park and ride sites which link directly to our sites and a number of other bus services come directly to the JR and link directly to Oxford’s two railway stations.”