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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Thieves strike at UK hospitals FIFTEEN times every day
Thieves strike UK hospitals 15 times every day but less than 5% of thefts result in criminal cases.
The criminals are mostly targeting vulnerable patients for their phones, cash or jewellery but they have also stolen a prosthetic leg, passports and even teddy bears.
Two thirds of police forces who replied to a Freedom of Information request revealed there were more than 17,000 instances of theft within a hospital involving £5million worth of property.
Concerned campaigners are urging hospital trusts to step up the number of CCTV cameras inside hospitals.
George McNamara, head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “These malicious acts are inexcusable and put patients under undue distress and hurt, particularly people with dementia who often rely on treasured possessions to feel less frightened.
“It is a disgraceful situation that scurrilous people are exploiting the most vulnerable at their time of need.
“It’s essential that tighter security guidelines are brought in where appropriate.
“This could mean more CCTV.”
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, told the Mail on Sunday: “It appears that nothing is being done. When people are in hospital they are often at their most vulnerable and the NHS must do more to prevent theft.”
In a horrific case 85-year-old Susan Lomas had her wedding ring pulled from her arthritic finger while in best at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Her daughter Maureen Whittle said at the time: “It would be bad enough to do it to any elderly person but it was my mum and she was in hospital.
“When I saw it was gone I took all her rings off so they were safe.
“She was so upset when I arrived but thankfully she forgot soon after. It devastated me but at least she was spared the horror in the long term.”
A £1,800 gold necklace was stolen from a woman in her 90s at Basildon Hospital in Essex, a £4,500 watch was taken from a locker at the Royal Cornwall Hopsital while its owner had an MRI scan and a cruel thief took toys from London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Thieves have also targeted hospital property including remembrance plaques, charity collection tins and cannisters of nitrous oxide which is used as a recreational drug.
An NHS spokesman said: “Security and CCTV coverage is a matter for individual NHS providers.”