Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Thieves branded ‘cowards’ for targeting the ‘most vulnerable’ in NHS Grampian hospitals

MSP Lewis Macdonald outside Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital
MSP Lewis Macdonald outside Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital

Thieves have been branded “cowardly” for stealing thousands of pounds worth of valuables from vulnerable people in hospitals across the north-east.

Statistics obtained by The Press and Journal reveal they have targeted cash, clothes and even Christmas gifts at hospitals in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

The details, released through a Freedom of Information request, cover the last three years and also show NHS Grampian has paid out more than £29,000 to reimburse patients for lost and stolen items.

Among the items noted as being stolen were jewellery, a games console and no fewer than six bicycles.

This year already, the health board has paid out £4,040 for items lost and stolen in their hospitals.

Last year, claims cost the NHS £5,702 and between 2017-18, bosses paid £11,493 to patients.

The NHS valued items stolen in 2016-17 at £8,083.

North East Scotland MSP Lewis Macdonald has called for the thieves to face the full force of the courts.

He said: “People who steal in or from hospitals are guilty of theft, and they are also guilty of targeting the most vulnerable people at the most vulnerable times.

“Their criminal activity also diverts valuable public money away from vital healthcare services in order to compensate their victims.

“Anyone convicted of such cowardly crimes should be made to face up to the consequences of their actions.”

Other items taken from Grampian hospitals include shoes, tablets and bank cards.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said it was disappointing whenever a theft occurred but added: “Because they are public buildings, we have to strike the right balance between allowing relatively free movement and appropriate security measures.

“We therefore actively encourage staff, patients and visitors to be vigilant and to report any concerns or incidents, no matter how minor.

“Patients are also advised not to bring valuables with them into hospital.”

NHS Grampian has a range of measures, such as CCTV on sites in an effort to combat criminals, as well as physical barriers such as digital and electronic locks, where staff ID cards or codes are required for access.

The health board’s own security team work also closely with police and will investigate any reported incident.

The spokeswoman added: “We would reassure people visiting our hospitals that we take security breaches very seriously and that the appropriate action is always taken.”​

NHS Highland

NHS Highland also revealed items stolen or lost within its hospitals have cost it more than £7,000 since 2016.

In total, there were 59 incidents where health bosses paid out compensation to both patients and staff who may have fallen victim to thieves.

Bikes, clothing and even light fittings are said to have gone missing from the north’s medical centres.

Highlands MSP Edward Mountain called for bosses to take “urgent” action.

“A stay in hospital is often a distressing enough time for patients as it is without having the added fear of their valuables being at risk of theft,” he added.

“Items going missing appears to be a persistent problem in NHS Highland and that is unacceptable.”

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said the figures were “desperately sad” adding: “Stealing from hardworking staff and vulnerable patients is absolutely despicable.”

NHS Highland said it encouraged staff to be vigilant towards thefts but that no system could be 100% effective.

A spokesman added: “We advise all our patients about how to keep their valuables safe while on NHS premises and we encourage our staff to be vigilant and to report any concerns about potential theft to their line manager.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]