1000 escapes from mental hospitals in 5 years

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PATIENTS have escaped from Scottish mental hospitals an “astonishing” 1000 times in just five years – but fewer than five absconders were being treated by NHS Lothian.

Vulnerable dementia sufferers as well as people detained under the mental health act were among at least 1067 patients to go missing.

In many cases police had to step in to return patients.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “This is an astonishing number, and raises real questions about security levels.

“Whether an absconding patient is a danger to the public, or more likely a risk to themselves, it is crucial such instances are minimised.

“However, I sympathise with nursing staff. Surely they have enough on their plate without being security guards as well?”