Serious security shortcomings were brought into sharp focus by two break-ins at a Wigan Infirmary annexe within days of each other.
A whistle-blowing member of staff contacted the Wigan Post to say the burglaries at Christopher Home had been the “final straw” for worried employees working there.
The caller said complaints had been made to management about there not being enough keys’ being issued to staff for the building which meant doors were being left open.
This meant the public could simply walk into the premises, sometimes where lone members of staff were working, and access patient notes left unattended on a corridor.
Concerns were also raised that bosses had not notified other departments about the burglaries in order to heighten awareness.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has now promised a major clampdown on security.
The first burglary was discovered on the morning of Tuesday May 3 when admin bloc staff came into find their offices ransacked and petty cash stolen. When CCTV footage was consulted, an intruder was seen getting into the premises at 9.45pm the night before.
Then over the weekend the surgical admissions lounge was burgled, and controlled drugs stolen from a locked cabinet. It has also been claimed that a laptop was also snatched but this has not been confirmed by police.
The staff member, who asked not to be identified, said: “Security has just not been good enough. Concerns have been raised with management but nothing seems to be done.
“People can just walk in. There are patient notes on a corridor that anyone could pick up.
“One of the problems is that there haven’t been enough keys so doors have been left unlocked. Management, who were reluctant to issue any more, suggested passing the keys aruond but that was just unworkable.
“After the first break-in we thought there would be a general alert put out to departments about keeping your eyes peeled but there was complete silence. We also thought that lightening wouldn’t strike twice - but it did!
“Some people are frightened working here on their own when there is so little to protect them.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed that a break-in had been discovered at 7.45am on May 3 in which a petty cash box had been stolen and that there had been another burglary between 8.30pm on May 5 and 6.40am on May 8 when controlled drugs were stolen.
Anyone with information is asked to ring police on 101 quoting reference number 0357 of May 8. Alternatively ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.