Security fears at Great Ormond Street Hospital after homeless man found living in ward
Fears over security at the world-famous Great Ormond Street Hospital have risen after a homeless man snuck into the ward over the bank holiday and made his bed for the night.
The man was discovered curled up and trying to sleep on Saturday morning (5) by a nurse who had returned to the closed ward to get something.
The nurse immediately told the security team at the hospital in Bloomsbury, who escorted the man off the premises.
A hospital source told the Ham&High: “This ward has only been closed for around ten days, nobody had been to the ward for all that time so the homeless man could have been there for a week or longer.
“There is a kitchen and beds in the ward so he would have had all modcons to allow him to survive.
“In a children’s hospital there should be some level of security, you wouldn’t expect something like that to happen.”
Great Ormond Street Hospital provides specialist care to children suffering from some of the most complex and gruelling illnesses around. Each year, patients make nearly 200,000 trips to the hospital.
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CCTV cameras show the man entering the ward through a fire door on Friday morning (4), but it remains unclear if the man had already bedded down in the ward and was returning from a trip outside or not.
George Binette, branch secretary of Camden Unison which represents hospital staff, said: “Clearly given the nature of the hospital, which treats many young, vulnerable children, it is particularly concerning that anyone could access a war, open or closed, without permission.
“On the other hand, street homelessness is a growing problem on London with the impact of the recession and benefit cuts, prompting perfectly harmless homeless people to seek shelter.
“But it is obviously a concern both for staff and particularly for the vulnerable patients at the hospital.
“I think it is a safe assumption that here sill have to be a review of security in light of this incident.”
A hospital spokeswoman insisted security was tight and that the ward contained no medical records or equipment, but that patrols had been upped since the incident.
She said: “Security and CCTV records have shown that he opportunistically entered the ward through a fire door and that he didn’t have any contact with patients.
“Operational wards are all behind swipe access doors that require a staff pass to enter, failing which visitors have to be ‘buzzed in’.
“We are still investigating how a person got in.”