There were 78 instances of theft at Waikato Hospital between January 1 in 2020 and September 28 in 2022.
Unscrupulous thieves have stolen a bag of cash, an IV cannula, and a teddy bear from Waikato Hospital.
Across almost three years – between January 1 in 2020 and September 28 in 2022 – 78 instances of theft were reported at Waikato Hospital, according to data released under the Official Information Act.
A rugby sports bag stuffed with a radar detector and $2,500 cash was one of the more unusual examples, taken from the Hauge Rd car park on August 8 in 2021.
An IV cannula was also pinched from a cubicle in the bustling emergency department on March 31 in 2021, and a lone teddy bear was taken from the gift and flower store on February 26 in 2021.
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But the most common thing stolen by patients and visitors was food from the cafes, interim district co-director Christine Lowry said in the response.
“At times, items have been reported missing from wards, but it is often impossible to confirm if theft has occurred.”
Lowry said it was highly unusual for staff to be caught stealing, but there had been isolated instances.
“Again, this is generally food taken from a cafe.”
Expected targets like cars and bikes were also frequently stolen, with 12 cars stolen and another two broken into during that period.
A vehicle with a dog inside was taken from the Emergency Department 90-minute car park on March 26 in 2022.
Unusually, one bike wheel was taken – on two separate occasions in 2020. One belonged to a patient and was taken from the emergency department main entrance and the other was owned by a staff member and was parked by the 90-minute car park.
This was on top of the nine bikes, four wheelchairs, one e-bike, one scooter and one motorcycle nicked.
Forty-two of the total thefts happened in 2020, with another 21 in 2021. There were 15 in the first nine months of this year.
Additional CCTV cameras had been installed to discourage stealing and trespass notices were issued when offenders were identified, Lowry said.
“Often, offenders are identified on CCTV by security directly or via CCTV. In some instances, staff or the public observe the activity and alert security or the police.”
Lowry said offenders were reported to the police to go through the court system and staff offenders were managed according to Te Whatu Ora Waikato policies.
Te Whatu Ora Waikato operations director Kent Holdsworth said patient care was its number one priority, and that included their safety and the security of their property.
“Hospitals are public spaces with hundreds of thousands of people attending each year and are therefore a reflection of the society we live in.
“While we exist to deliver healthcare, not everyone respects that, or the state of vulnerability many patients are in when needing to be hospitalised.”
Holdsworth said it had a zero-tolerance policy towards the committing of crime at any of its facilities.
“Where a theft or other criminal act is reported, we will contact police.”
Security was increased after the attack on hospital security guard Sharleen Harney-Kiriona on May 15 in 2020.
She was seriously injured after being assaulted by a patient wielding an oxygen cylinder in a surgical ward at Waikato Hospital.