A police investigation has been launched after a number of patients reported getting inappropriate messages from a member of staff at Crosshouse Hospital after he accessed their records.

Those affected, believed to be mainly women, were notified that information, including their phone numbers and addresses, had been accessed and that the member of staff who breached their privacy had ‘no legitimate clinical or administrative requirement’.

The breach came from information held in the Radiology Information System and patients affected had all recently been referred for an X-ray.

Three women affected by the breach have told the Times about their ordeals and how the man contacted two of them directly.

Gemma Erskine, 31, Kilmarnock said: “I got a letter last week and I am really angry. A couple of months ago I kept getting messages from a number I didn’t recognise. They just said ‘Hello.’ And nothing else. I didn’t know the number so I didn’t reply. But I kept getting them over and over until they eventually stopped. I was in hospital in August and again in September and had two X-rays and an operation. After I got the letter I called the police and they said they were involved. I am so angry about the whole thing. I have lost faith in that hospital.”

A 27-year-old Irvine woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I started getting text messages from a number I didn’t recognise around July. First they just said ‘Hey how are you’ and that sort of thing then when I asked who he was and how he had got my number he said he just found it on his phone. He said he was in his 20s. I told him I didn’t know who he was and then he said “I’ve seen your Facebook profile picture. You are absolutely stunning and exactly my type.”

“Then he sent me a picture of himself and asked “What do you think? Do you like how I look” then asked if we could meet up and go on a date.

“I stopped replying after that. I thought he was a bit of a stalker and a weirdo and showed some of my friends the things he was sending and to be honest, we had a bit of a laugh about it. I never thought for a million years it would turn out to be this. I got the letter from the hospital and that’s when it clicked it was him and he had got my details from my medical records. I was in hospital in June for an X-ray because I fell at work and hurt my wrist and ankle.

“You expect that your details will be kept private. I just can’t believe this has happened.”

A young woman from Kilwinning added: “I broke my ankle in June and obviously had to get an X-ray. I got a letter this week saying all my personal details have been accessed by someone using it inappropriately.

“I think it’s really scary that this he has been able to access all that information. You just don’t know what he could do. There’s phone numbers and addresses and everything. It’s horrible.” A member of staff has been ‘excluded from work’ following the breach which took place between April and September of this year.

Dr Alison Graham, Medical Director for the NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran has been made aware of a member of staff inappropriately accessing patient records. This individual is currently excluded from work.

“We are currently investigating and are contacting a number of patients to ascertain the extent of this breach. We wish to apologise to anyone affected by this. We take patient confidentially extremely serious and will ensure a full investigation is conducted.

“We are working closely with Police Scotland and the Information Commissioner’s Office. As this is an ongoing police investigation, we are not able to confirm any further details.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We can confirm that Police Scotland has received a complaint regarding the inappropriate behaviour of a male member of staff from NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Enquiries are at a very early stage to establish the full circumstances.”