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Former NHS worker given four-year jail term for £1.3m medical equipment thefts

A former NHS worker has been jailed for four years for stealing medical equipment worth more than £1.3 million.

Daniel Dreghorn, 39, was arrested after a stock-take revealed 134 theatre instruments were missing from two Ayrshire hospitals.

NHS bosses were alerted to the "shameful" crime when missing urology equipment at University Hospital Ayr led to the cancellation of t wo operations. Items also disappeared from University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock.

Dreghorn, from Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, worked as a supervisor in the equipment decontamination unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine before he was suspended in July last year.

A search of his home recovered some medical devices and evidence he had sold stolen equipment to wholesalers in the UK, US and Hong Kong.

He pleaded guilty to theft at the High Court in Glasgow on July 22 and has been sentenced to four years in jail.

Fraser Paterson, a manager with NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services, said: "Dreghorn's crime is shameful.

"This sort of wrongdoing not only takes vital money out of the NHS in an economically challenging climate, it also impacts on patients, some of whom desperately need the treatment and care that this money should be providing.

"Crimes like this hurt all of us because it's our money that pays for the NHS and we all rely on it being there when we most need cared for."

NHS Ayrshire & Arran said appropriate controls were in place to prevent future thefts.

Finance director Derek Lindsay said: " The organisation has tightened physical controls and extended the computerised tracking system already used in the decontamination process to track when these equipment are stored or used in theatres.

"Although 134 theatre instruments were taken, most were old and did not require to be replaced, however around 15 have been replaced at a cost of £196,000."

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