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22 July 2015, 18:30
A man has admitted stealing about £1.3 million worth of medical equipment from a health board, counter fraud chiefs have said.
Daniel Dreghorn, 39, from Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, carried out the thefts while working as a production supervisor in the central decontamination unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine.
Theatre instrument sets are decontaminated at the unit before being returned to local hospitals.
After a routine operation in February 2014 was cancelled due to a lack of clean medical devices, a check by the health board revealed that a substantial quantity of medical scopes, used in surgical procedures, were unaccounted for.
Further detailed stock takes revealed that 134 sets of medical equipment had been stolen from Ayr and Crosshouse hospitals. Dreghorn was on duty on the dates that the sets were last accounted for.
Dreghorn was arrested in late July 2014 and immediately suspended from duty following an investigation by NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services.
Investigators said that a search of his home recovered some medical devices and evidence that he had sold stolen medical equipment to wholesalers in the UK, US and Hong Kong.
NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services said that Dreghorn admitted stealing a quantity of medical equipment between October 2012 and July 2014 when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow today.
He will be sentenced in September.
Fraser Paterson, national counter fraud manager at NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services, said: "This was a shameful crime that Dreghorn carried out.
"The National Health Service is a jewel in Scotland's crown because of the way it is funded and the fact that it's free at the point of care.
"This crime not only had a serious financial impact on the health board concerned, it also had a health impact on patients, some of whom desperately needed the treatment that this money should have provided.
"Counter Fraud Services will continue to work in partnership with all health boards in Scotland to prevent, detect and investigate crime of this nature, and will pursue criminals whenever they are identified.''