RFID to cure NHS hardware thefts

Fighting back against "deplorable" thieves

Fighting back against "deplorable" thieves

The NHS is exploring the use of RFID tagging to stop the theft of expensive and vital medical equipment.

In the last 12 months, 11 NHS hospital trusts have reported thefts of diagnostic equipment worth more than £10,000 and the health service is keen to stop this.

Earlier this month in response to a written parliamentary question, health minister Rosie Winterton said the NHS Security Management Service is "actively exploring the options for making use of new technology to track and trace high value pieces of NHS equipment".

She said electronic tagging could be used as a "preventative measure" and to monitor the whereabouts of key pieces of medical equipment.

And a Department of Health spokesman told silicon.com: "We are actively exploring the options for making use of new radio frequency technology to track and trace high value pieces of NHS equipment."

He added: "The theft of such equipment is deplorable and diverts much needed resources away from patient care. That is why the NHS takes these thefts extremely seriously and is working to ensure that NHS resources are safeguarded in order to make the standard of clinical care available to patients as high as possible."

He added that recommendations had been issued to hospitals about the best ways to protect vital equipment. These included reviewing security arrangements using CCTV and access control around the equipment, as well as ensuring suspicious incidents are reported to local security.