Police Scotland say that Borders General Hospital has been responsible for more than 100 emergency calls over a seven-month period, raising concerns over the security of vulnerable people.
At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s police, fire and rescue board, councillors heard that police in the Borders were called to the hospital 135 times between April 1, 2018 and November 30, to deal with anti-social behaviour, visitors to the hospital and missing persons. However, NHS Borders’ records show just 10 calls made to the police in relation to absconded patients during the same period.
Chief Inspector Stuart Reid said these calls can take a huge chunk out of policing resources used for searching for missing persons.
He told the meeting: “In relation to missing people, there have been 522 missing people reported this year to date, for this period last year it was 430, showing an increase of 21 per cent.
“This increase in the number of missing persons does impact greatly upon us as they are very resource-intensive. The majority of these people who are reported missing did have some kind of vulnerability, with mental health vulnerabilities being the most prevalent.
“A large proportion of these people were missing from a small number of establishments.
“By way of an example, from our colleagues at NHS Borders, we were called to the hospital 135 times over a seven month period, so that shows how resource-intensive it is for us to deal with missing people. Again, there is some reassurance that 100 per cent of the people are recovered, and there’s no one out there still missing.”
Chief Inspector Reid told the meeting that work is in progress to support NHS Borders in reviewing missing persons procedures.