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Thefts cost Scottish hospitals £900k in two years

Items worth more than £900,000 have been lost or stolen from Scotland’s hospitals in the last two years, it has been disclosed.

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Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said there have been 1,330 such incidents in 2008-09.

Items worth £523,503 were either stolen or lost in that year - up from £401,077 in 2007-08 - taking the total for the two years to £924,580.

Following questions from Labour, the Scottish government had originally put the value of items that were lost and stolen last year at about £325,000.

Labour health spokesman Richard Simpson claimed the corrected figure issued by ministers was “an embarrassing admission for the Scottish government”.

Dr Simpson said: “We simply can’t afford for this continue. The toll of lost and stolen items is likely to include laptops, which may hold sensitive patient information, along with medical equipment and possibly even hospital furniture.

“I want the health secretary Nicola Sturgeon to take action so that patients can be confident that their records don’t fall into the wrong hands and expensive equipment stays where it belongs.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “While any theft from an NHS hospital is highly regrettable, it is the responsibility of individual NHS boards to ensure they have the right security measures in place, particularly with regard to any sensitive personal information.”

She added: “Richard Simpson provides no evidence for his assertions about what may - or may not - have been stolen, but he can rest assured that I have made clear to NHS boards the high importance I attach to good data protection procedures.”

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