An under-fire ambulance service has lost equipment worth more than £215,000 in the past two years – including a vomit bowl.
The East of England Ambulance Service has said the problem of losing items is a “significant problem” for the Trust.
Between 2012 and 2014 the Trust says it has lost 30 special laptops costing £2,500 each and 10 defibrillators worth a staggering £90,000.
They have also lost 64 thermometers worth £72 each, 16 blood glucose monitors and a stretcher worth more than £8,000.
But perhaps the most bizarre lost item the trust misplaced was a vomit bowl normally stored in their ambulances.
The data was released following a Freedom of Information request from a member of the public.
Patient safety is of paramount importance and we have a supply line in place to quickly replace missing items.Karl Edwards, EEAST manager
Trust manager Karl Edwards, blamed “dynamic” and “chaotic” situations for equipment being left at the scene and said the focus was placed on giving the best possible care.
He added: “That’s why we’re putting a great deal of focus into making sure we put practices and measures in place to minimise this going forward.”
The items were all classified as “lost” rather than stolen, the Trust confirmed. It said it did not know how many of the items had subsequently been found.
A Trust spokesman added: “We recognise that there is an issue and are looking at how we can minimise any losses.
“The nature of our crews’ work is very dynamic and unpredictable and providing the best and most appropriate care for patients often involves the use of multiple pieces of equipment, often with patients in critical conditions. “There are times when all items are not accounted for following a call-out, such as during the transfer of the patient at hospital when it may stay with a patient to ensure continuity of care.
“We have systems in place to ensure that lost, misplaced or unreturned equipment is reported. Patient safety is of paramount importance and we have a supply line in place to quickly replace missing items, ensuring our vehicles are fully stocked when sent out on the road.”
Andy Silvester, campaign director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, described the situation as “ludicrous” and said £215,000 was an “awful lot of money”.
He said: “It’s simply inappropriate that we a) have lost this equipment in the first place, and b) that we don’t know whether we’ve got it back.”
The Trust covers Herts, Beds, Cambs, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.