Published: 14/04/2005, Volume II5, No. 5951 Page 11

A nurse was held up at gunpoint in the car park of Bradford Royal Infirmary last week - just months after the trust cut back on security guards as a cost-efficiency measure.

Unison, the public sector union, has called on Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust to reinstate the guards after a gunman pulled the trust employee from her car and stole the vehicle.

In January a doctor was held up at knife-point in another trust car park.

Both incidents have taken place since the trust made cutbacks in an attempt to claw back some of the trust's£11.3m debt.

As part of December's costcutting review the number of trust car park security guards was reduced by eight, with mobile teams now employed to patrol all car parks.

Unison trust convenor Amandeep Singh blamed the robberies on a decision to remove security staff.

But a trust spokesman defended the decision: 'During a security review in 2004 we looked at the effectiveness of the static car park attendants. We found that they were not effective at preventing crime, and in some cases crime occurred during their patrols.' He added: 'The trust found that the roving patrols, closed-circuit television and close liaison with police, in conjunction with schemes to educate staff about personal security, were more effective ways at reducing car crime and offered better value for money'.

The trust is investigating the incident.