Thieves have struck dozens of times at West Midlands and Staffordshire hospitals, jeopardising patients’ treatment and leaving costly repair bills.
More than £12,000 of computer equipment used for patients’ care was stolen, fridges to keep medication were stolen, metal boilers ripped out, a wheelchair taken and suspected alcoholics even took hand gel from outside wards. Charity donations were even stolen at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton,and Christmas lights from Rowley Regis Hospital.
In all, hospitals were hit 68 times in the past two financial years, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Wolverhampton chief nursing officer Cheryl Etches said stealing equipment there to protect patients was shocking.
Alcoholic handgel was taken from wall-mounted dispensers three times in four-months in 2011 at New Cross – among ten occasions trust property was stolen.
A charity box for Ovarian Cancer Action was stolen in May 2012, and another found empty.
At Sandwell General Hospital nine metal boilers were taken in June 2010.
Thieves hit Sandwell 11 times over two years with a £450 wheelchair among nine thefts at City Hospital, and festive lights taken at Rowley Regis Hospital last year.
Two fridges, one in a pharmacy to keep medication and other for food for patients, went at Rowley Regis and computer equipment at Walsall Manor Hospital went on eight occasions, including four laptops worth £600 each and a hard drive worth £10,000.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was hit 19 times at Stafford Hospital and a further nine from Cannock Chase Hospital.