Stalker torment as one in three NHS staff ‘targeted by patients and colleagues’



One in three NHS mental health professionals have been targeted in sinister stalking campaigns – from patients and colleagues.

A shock study found the majority of the cases – 52 per cent – ​​saw medics the victim of unwanted obsession from individuals they had been caring for.

But health officials at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde also told researchers almost one in three of the stalking cases saw criminal attention from fellow members of staff.

The research – published in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology – also discovered six per cent of the cases saw mental health doctors, nurses and other officials targeted by the relatives of one of their patients.

It found: “Over half of the respondents who had experienced stalking believed their stalker had a psychiatric disorder.

“Stalking had a negative impact on the well-being of staff. These findings have important implications for healthcare services in both the clinical care of patients and healthcare policy to address staff experiences of stalking.”

There have been a number of high-profile stalking cases involving The NHS in recent years. In 2009 violent stalker Brian Johnstone was jailed for life for making his therapist’s life hell.

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Johnstone, then 33, pursued clinical psychologist Dawn Relton – who had treated him – for over two years.

He took more than 1000 secret photos and videos of her, vandalized her car and wrote love letters in blood. When police raided his Glasgow flat, officers found a crossbow, handgun, smoke grenades and pepper spray.

The high-profile case, as well as other incidents of “intrusive and unwanted” incidents for its staff, saw NHS Greater
Glasgow and Clyde draw up a stalking policy.

But NHS workers have also been accused of stalking patients. Last year NHS radiographer Andrew Stewart was struck off after snooping on the medical records of more than 200 female patients and romantically pestering them. Dad-of-one Stewart, 36, escaped jail after pleading guilty to offenses at Hamilton Sheriff Court in 2020. Instead, he was given 200 hours’ of unpaid work and placed on the sex offenders’ register for three years.

Ann Mound, of charity Action Against Stalking, said: “I was part of the group that introduced the policy at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. However, it is worth questioning whether there is enough evidence to suggest this policy is being fully implemented.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We take any incidences of violence or threats towards our staff very seriously. We’ll examine the findings and look at how we can work with staff to address instances of stalking. We carry out risk assessments in areas of higher risk, recognizing stalking remains a threat in wider society.”




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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