Dundee healthcare worker stole from vulnerable patients on Ninewells ward

Shannon Mills, pictured for the Tele in 2015 after revealing she’d been hit with a £21,000 phone bill.

An NHS worker preyed on vulnerable patients who were being treated at Ninewells Hospital — stealing money from purses and a wallet while she worked there.

Shannon Mills, 21, of Inveresk Gardens in Whitfield, admitted three charges of theft from elderly patients in June and September last year and July this year.

She stole amounts of £5, £95 and £50 on separate occasions while employed as a healthcare assistant, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.

Her pleas of not guilty to five other charges of theft from patients in the same ward were accepted by the Crown.

Mills admitted that on June 6 2016, at Ward five, Ninewells Hospital, she stole £5 in cash from a purse.

She also admitted that between September 12 and September 15 2016, at the same ward in Ninewells, she stole £95 in cash from a purse, and on July 4 2017, again at the same ward, she stole £50 from a patient’s wallet.

At a previous appearance in court, Mills was granted bail with the special condition that she stay away from Ninewells, which her solicitor had pointed out was her place of work.

Sheriff James McDonald deferred sentence for reports along with a restriction of liberty order assessment. Sentence was deferred until November 22 and Mills was ordained to appear.

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said that Mills no longer worked for the health board.

Patients in Ward five are normally male and are treated for illnesses including Parkinson’s, dementia, delirium, alcohol dependency, epilepsy and infections such as pneumonia.

It also treats patients who have several different conditions at the same time, such as renal failure and diabetes.

Margaret Watt, of the Scottish Patients’ Association, told the Tele: “We think this situation is appalling and think that NHS staff would be above this sort of thing.

“As far as we are led to believe, patients are provided with lockable units beside their beds for any money and valuables. If it is the case that they are locked away, how was a member of staff able to access these units?

“Will she be liable to repay these funds?

“This type of action reflects badly on NHS staff as a whole and patients lose faith in the staff who are there to care for and protect them.

“It should be highlighted to the public that these types of incidents are few and far between and that the good work the NHS achieves should not suffer because of this.”

Mills previously appeared in the Tele after revealing she’d been hit with a £21,000 phone bill on returning from a holiday in 2015.