This site is intended for health professionals only

Practice loses expensive medical equipment in break-in

by Valeria Fiore
17 September 2018

Share this article

A GP practice has reported losses of various medical items, after it was burgled last week.
The Lea Vale Medical Practice, located in the Liverpool Road Health Centre in Luton, told Bedfordshire police that several items went missing, ‘including a defibrillator, an ECG machine, a blood glucose machine, five boxes of clothes, a doctor’s stamp, boxes of condoms, paramedic emergency equipment and an iPhone 7’.
Bedfordshire Police, who said the burglars broke into the practice via a window in the disabled toilet between 9pm on 12 September and 6.15am on 13 September, is looking for witnesses to help the investigation into the burglary.
The practice provides services for 24,093 patients in a deprived area, according to a CQC report.
Thousands of pounds worth of equipment
Business partner Mathew Wright told Management in Practice that the practice lost several pieces of equipment, as well as medicines.
He said: ‘They have taken an ECG machine that cost us about £2,500 and a defibrillator, which is about £1,700.
‘But the main loss to us was that they left one of our vaccination fridges open. We had about £1,600 worth of vaccination in the fridge, half of which were the first flu delivery of the season, so we’ve had to cancel flu appointments.’
Mr Wright said the practice has contacted the supplier to get an emergency delivery of the vaccine, but that is unlikely to happen as there is a national shortage at present.
Dr Nina Pearson, clinical chair for Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and a partner at Lea Vale Medical Group, said: ‘We were incredibly frustrated that someone could carry out such a mindless act.
‘As well as the cost of repairing the damage and replacing stolen medical equipment, the burglars were also reckless, leaving a fridge door open that contained flu vaccines. As the vaccines need to be kept at a safe temperature, all 1,100 vaccines needed to be destroyed.’
Disruption to the service
Mr Wright said that after making sure no one was in the building, they called non-emergency police number 101 but were only able to get into the affected area of the building around midday, after the forensic team had collected the proof they needed.
He said: ‘Luckily [the burglars] did not get into our admin area, where receptionists and administrators take phone calls or appointments.
‘We also have doctors doing telephone appointments throughout the day, so we could place them on admin desks and have them do the consultations from admin rooms, while we relocated clinicians who had to do face-to-face appointments to the other two branches of our surgeries.
‘We had all that done by 8am in the morning and asked receptionists to call patients to inform them on where they needed to go.’