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Hospitals lose £725k of equipment to thefts

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Thousands of items worth a total of around £725,000 have been lost or stolen from Scottish hospitals over the past two years, it has been disclosed.

Almost 2,500 items have gone missing, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon revealed in a parliamentary answer.

The revelation prompted opposition calls for the Scottish Government to strengthen security in NHS hospitals.

NHS Tayside has the worst record in Scotland, with 142 items worth about £125,000 lost or stolen from its premises in the past year.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran reported 264 items with a value of £47,494 lost or stolen in 2008-09.

The total value of losses in the NHS last year was £325,000, down from £401,000 in 2007-08.

Labour health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson said: “The Scottish Government needs to start taking security in our hospitals and clinics much more seriously. 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 that any theft from an NHS hospital is “highly regrettable”.

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said it had an “extremely robust” system in place to record all incidents of loss whether that be to “patients, staff, visitors or to the organisation itself”.

She added: “Without exception, every loss, no matter how small, is recorded onto our systems and entered into our accounts.

“The people of Tayside should be reassured that over the past 12 months, there have been no incidents where items lost or stolen have contained sensitive patient information.”

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