Police have been called to deal with 1,103 incidents at Ayrshire's hospitals and health centres in the last five years.

Thousands of cases across the country, predominantly involving violence and aggression towards staff and patients, have been recorded since 2018.

It means officers across the country are called to NHS settings on average more than five occasions every single day.

The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests by policing and justice magazine 1919, show that nearly half of the instances occurred within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

Of the health board’s 4,422 police calls in five years, 2,318 concerned the behaviour of people towards either staff or other patients.

The nationwide figure will be even higher, with some health boards – including NHS Lothian and NHS Lanarkshire – unable to provide the relevant information.

The research found the vast majority of 999 calls came from major hospitals.

However, some were recorded from health centres and pharmacies within towns and villages, and there were even a handful of cases where NHS staff attending patients’ homes were forced to call for police support.

The annual figures have fluctuated, with last year’s 1,736 cases a reduction from 2021 when there were 1,925 call-outs.

Norman Provan, associate director for the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, told 1919: “These figures are extremely worrying.

“The increasing demands and staff shortages are piling the pressure onto nursing teams who are doing their best in very challenging circumstances.

“They should not have to put up with verbal or physical assaults.

“All health boards have a duty of care to protect their staff from attack and we encourage members who experience any type of aggression or violence to report it.”

David Threadgold, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “While Police Scotland will always try and respond to all 999 calls, the data shows that the situation across the NHS estate – even without returns from large NHS authorities – is becoming unsustainable from a policing perspective. 

“Colleagues from the Royal College of Nursing highlight ‘increasing demands and staff shortages’ and Police Scotland is no different.

“As we consult internally to identify areas to reduce police officer numbers across Scotland, the impact will be felt in the NHS and across our communities.  

“We must continue to demand further investment in policing to ensure that we can deliver the service that the public, and hardworking police officers across Scotland seek and demand.”

Police call-outs to hospitals since 2018:

  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran – 1,103
  • NHS Borders – 255
  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway – 270
  • NHS Grampian – 46
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – 4,422
  • NHS Highland – 1,170
  • NHS Orkney – 3
  • NHS Shetland – 4
  • NHS Tayside – 2,247
  • Total – 9,520