Thieves target Central Middlesex Hospital

Operations may need to be cancelled after crooks steal vital equipment

PATIENT’S lives have been put at risk after callous thieves stole vital equipment from a hospital for the second time this year.

Health chiefs may have to cancel scores of operations after the crooks stole sterilising equipment from Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal, last month.

The thieves are believed to have casually strolled into the hospital’s outpatient department where they helped themselves to two trolleys containing the stainless steel equipment.

They made their getaway by using a rear exit where a van is said to have been waiting for them.

A similar theft took place in May this year and a source told the Times the hospital has lost �250,000 worth of equipment in total.

A spokeswoman for North West London Hospital Trust told the Times they had cancelled one operation as a precautionary measure following the theft.

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She added: “The Trust has been working very hard to minimise the disruption caused by these thefts, by borrowing instrument sets from other local hospitals and instrument suppliers.

“Our aim is to maintain business-as-usual, but if we need to reschedule operations we will do so, without affecting patient care.”

Detectives investigating the thefts believe the equipment was stolen for its scrap metal value but speculation among some hospital staff is that it was stolen to order and has since been shipped abroad.

Detective Superintendent Steve Kershaw, who is investigating the thefts, said: “This is a grave crime that has potentially put patients’ lives at risk.

“It could have led to a delay in the treatment of some very sick people.”

Sarah Cox, a health campaigner from Harlesden, called the thefts cruel.

She said: “It is so callous.

“I think the hospital has a real problem on their hands as you don’t want very intrusive security in a hospital because people go there in a vulnerable state.

“I feel so sorry for anyone who has had their operation cancelled because of this.”

Two men who were arrested last week in connection with the thefts have been released on bail pending further enquires until November 3.