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Nov 17 2012

Thefts from Hospital Wards in Harrow

We asked the North West London Hospital NHS Trust to provide us with figures of thefts of patient property from wards across their hospitals. They did this for us via a Freedom of Information Act request, and the results make disturbing reading.

Patients should have an expectation that their property will be looked after as well as them, so the Trust makes it clear that it’ll happily secure any small personal possessions during a patients stay in hospital, but that it advises against bringing those possessions along in the first place.

NHS hospitals aren’t, from experience, the nicest places in the country – particularly the A&E departments on a Friday or Saturday night – so we’d expect some crime to occur.

The data that the Trust provided shows that in 2012 so far, there have been 20 reported thefts – an a quarter of those in the last two weeks of October alone. But oddly, in 2011, there was only one reported theft – some gold rings going missing from X-Ray. Going back to 2011, the figure leaps up to 15 reported thefts.

So, what’s the worst wards in terms of patient theft? Well, the Frederick Salmon Ward accounted for almost a fifth of all thefts across the hospital throughout the the three years of data provided, with seven reported thefts out of a total of 36. It’s clearly the most likely place you’ll have things stolen from if you’re in there (note: we make no adjustments for size or capacity of ward, not it’s throughput).

We’d like to repeat the Trusts’ advice: All inpatients are reminded not to bring in valuables and when they are booked onto the ward their possessions should be logged and put in the patients office for safe keeping. If they refuse this service, it’s their responsibility.

Your chances of being affected by theft in hospital is low, but it is definitely worth leaving valuables at home during any stay.

The summary of reported thefts is below. If you’d like to do you own calculations, you can download the data either from the FOI response or via an MS Excel spreadsheet here.

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