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NHS easy target for criminals

14th December 2009

Reports suggesting that the health service is an "easy target" for criminals has prompted an investigation to be launched by the NHS.

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Statistics have revealed that over the past five years there have been 57 "high-profile" claims for thefts of items worth over £20,000.

Medical equipment has been taken from a number of ambulances, laughing gas has been removed from Torbay Hospital in Devon and computers with data about 20,000 patients was stolen from St George's Hospital in London.

In addition, an elderly patient had money and personal property stolen while she was in bed at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and hospitals around Britain had endoscopic equipment taken to be sold abroad.

The NHS Security Management Service has said it thinks the heath service can easily be targeted because much of its property needs to be accessible to the public. Certain hospitals are visited by more than 8,000 people every day.

Jill Abethell, the overseer of the investigation, said: "We have decided to look at theft as we believe it is a real problem."

"I think like any organisation open to the public there is that risk something can be stolen. We have heard of ambulances having sat-navs and equipment stolen out the back while crews treat people on the street and laptops going from hospitals."

 

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