Abbie case prompts hospital crackdown

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The Independent Online
NEW guidelines on hospital security are being drawn up by the Department of Health and the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts (NAHAT) in an attempt to prevent the abduction of babies, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

The need for tightened security procedures was exposed by the case of Abbie Humphries who was stolen from a hospital near Nottingham by a woman posing as a nurse.

The new guidelines, to be published later this year, will update recommended security measures such as locking access doors at night, improving the quality of security guards, and possible curfews.

The Government has invited John Rabun, vice president of the United States' National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, to address a national workshop on infant abduction organised by NAHAT in London later this month when a video and guidelines on preventing infant abduction based on the American experience will be given to delegates.

The association is currently conducting a survey of all maternity units with the aim of spreading better practices.

Philip Hunt, the association's director, said: 'Good security, as in the outside world, depends on all who work in the service being vigilant and taking responsibility for reporting anything suspicious.'