Police have issued a description of a woman after a female hospital worker was stabbed in the grounds of a North Ayrshire hospital.
The 42-year-old victim is being treated for serious injuries after being stabbed yesterday in the car park at Ailsa Hospital.
Officers said the woman they were looking for was seen leaving the vicinity shortly afterwards.
Staff and patients were told to lock themselves in rooms and offices around 10am while a major police investigation got under way. Lockdown was lifted around 1pm. A helicopter was used to help police search the grounds.
The female community support worker’s injuries were described by hospital staff as “serious, but stable” and not life-threatening.
Superintendent Brian Shaw said: “I am urging anyone who witnessed the attack to get in touch with us. I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who was in the area around 10am and has information about a woman who was seen leaving the area shortly after the 42-year-old woman was stabbed.
“She is described as being around 5’2” to 5’3” in height, slight build and pale complexion. She was wearing a dark woolly hat and a dark jacket. If you recognise her description or have information about her identity, please call Police Scotland via 101.
“It is important that the public is aware that the hospital is open as normal. Officers remain at the hospital and we have increased high-visibility patrols in the area to reassure patients, staff and the wider public.
“Officers are reviewing CCTV and carrying out door-to-door enquiries in an effort to identify the woman responsible.”
Ailsa Hospital specialises in mental health and psychiatry and cares for elderly patients. It has a 52-bed intensive physiatric care unit.
Ayr MSP John Scott raised the incident at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The first I will do when I leave the chamber will be to get a full update on this. Our understanding is that injuries sustained by a nurse are not life-threatening injuries and that police are fully involved in this incident. “Obviously, the safety of staff and patients is of the utmost importance.”
Billy McClean, the health board’s associate director, said: “We are assisting Police Scotland with their investigations and to ensure the safety of staff, patients and visitors. We are unable to comment any further at this time.”