Detectives were tonight hunting for a woman who went on the run after stabbing a community support worker in an NHS hospital car park.
Patients and staff at Ailsa Hospital in North Ayrshire were told to stay in their rooms as it was put into lockdown while a police helicopter circulated overhead.
The health worker was attacked in the grounds of the hospital just after 10am by the woman, who was said to have been a patient being treated for an addiction.
Patients and staff at Ailsa Hospital (pictured today) in North Ayrshire, Scotland, were told to stay in their rooms, while a police helicopter circulated overhead
Police Scotland initially locked down the hospital and surrounding area while searches were carried out – but the facility reopened three hours later at 1pm.
The worker was taken for treatment and was believed to be in a critical condition, but her injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
Detectives released a description of the suspect, who was said to be a slim woman around 5ft 3in tall, dressed in a dark woolly hat and dark jacket.
Officers were reviewing CCTV and carrying out door-to-door enquiries today as they urged anyone who witnessed the attack to get in touch.
The suspect was allegedly a patient in the addictions unit, reported Radio Tay.
Ayr MSP John Scott raised the incident at First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) in the Scottish Parliament, saying: ‘I understand a nurse has been stabbed by a patient’.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was receiving reports about the incident as she entered the chamber for FMQs.
She said: ‘Our understanding – and let me stress this is our understanding, the first I will do when I leave the chamber will be to get a full update on this – our understanding is that injuries sustained by a nurse are not life-threatening injuries and that police are fully involved in this incident.
‘Obviously, the safety of staff and patients is of the utmost importance.’
Police confirmed no arrests have been made. Detectives do not believe the suspect to still be in the grounds of the hospital.
The stabbing took place in the grounds of the Ailsa Hospital, which houses wards for patients with mental health and addiction problems.
Officers were today hunting for the culprit and no one was allowed out of the hospital site
The grand building backs on to the larger University Hospital Ayr, which houses A&E services in the town around 35 miles south of Glasgow.
Superintendent Brian Shaw said: ‘I am urging anyone who witnessed the attack to get in touch with us.
‘I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who was in the area around 10am and has information about a woman who was seen leaving the area shortly after the 42-year-old woman was stabbed.
‘She is described as being around 5ft 2in to 5ft 3in in height, slight build and pale complexion.
‘She was wearing a dark woolly hat and a dark jacket. If you recognise her description or have information about her identity please call Police Scotland.
‘It is important that the public is aware that the hospital is open as normal.
Ailsa Hospital, which is on the same site as University Hospital Ayr, was put on lockdown today
‘Officers remain at the hospital and we have increased high-visibility patrols in the area to reassure patients, staff and the wider public.’
‘Officers are reviewing CCTV and carrying out door-to-door enquiries in the area in an effort to identify the woman responsible.’
A hospital source said: ‘We got a message saying the hospital is in lockdown and not to leave our rooms as there’s been a stabbing. The helicopter is out overhead. It doesn’t seem real.’
NHS Ayrshire and Arran earlier said no patients, staff or visitors would be able to leave the site but some restrictions were later relaxed.
Billy McClean, associate director for the health board, added: ‘NHS Ayrshire and Arran is aware of an incident in the grounds of Ailsa Hospital this morning.
‘We are assisting Police Scotland with their investigations, and to ensure the safety of staff, patients and visitors.’