GP anger at 'outrageous' loss of patient blood samples and data

GPs have reacted with outrage after police confirmed a van stolen with hundreds of pathology test samples was left unlocked, with its keys inside.

Blood sample: hundreds lost after van theft (Photo: iStock)
Blood sample: hundreds lost after van theft (Photo: iStock)

Merton Police have called off the search for the van, stolen with up to 300 vials of blood, smears, other samples and patient-identifiable data, because of a lack of evidence.

The vehicle was stolen from outside a GP practice in Surrey after collecting test samples from 10 practices across the area to take to the Epsom and St Helier pathology service.

Wimbledon GP and GPC member Dr Paul Cundy, whose practice uses the pathology service, said: ‘It’s outrageous. It is not acceptable for vans with clinical material in them to be left unattended with the keys in them. There’s no excuse for that.’

Review safety protocols

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals NHS Trust should review whether it had the right protocols in place to ensure safety of test samples, he said.

A spokeswoman for Merton police told GP: ‘Merton police have investigated the circumstances surrounding the theft of a motor vehicle, which occurred on Wednesday 30 July, outside a medical practice on Middleton Road in Morden.

‘The matter was fully investigated, however, there was no CCTV, no forensic opportunities and no known suspects. Due to these factors, the investigation has been closed. Any new or further evidence which comes to light will be re-examined and investigated fully.’

A spokeswoman for Epsom and St Helier Hospitals said it could not comment on the circumstances of the theft.

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