A KNIFE-wielding woman who stabbed an Irvine support worker at Ailsa Hospital is still on the loose – days after it was claimed there has been no CCTV at the unit for more than a decade.

Donna Maxwell, 42, was seemingly targeted randomly after the attacker tried to meet with another worker at the addictions unit last Thursday morning, with both Ayr and Ailsa Hospitals put on lockdown.

Now, questions are being asked about the safety of nurses and other workers at Ailsa, particularly since the transfer of many mental health services to the recently built Woodlands View unit in Irvine.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran confirmed that the CCTV had not been switched on for several years, leading to significant concerns about staff and patient safety at the hospital.

Among the critics is UNISON President Gordon McKay, who worked at Ailsa Hospital for many years.

He said: “Our first thoughts are for the member of staff and her family. It is shocking that someone who is dedicated to providing high quality healthcare to the people of Scotland should be attacked at work.

“In the longer term, serious questions need to be asked and answered by senior management of NHS Ayrshire and Arran over why it would appear they were leading patients, relatives and staff in the hospital to believe that CCTV was operating as a safety measure when they knew it wasn’t.

“Anyone who takes a decision which misleads people about safety matters must be held to account.”

NHS Ayrshire and Arran Chief Executive John Burns admitted the CCTV was not in use, adding: “The analogue CCTV system at Ailsa Hospital has not been operational for a number of years. We have an ongoing review of how to make best use of CCTV across all our sites.“

“Police have now made an active plea to the public for more information, specifically dashcam footage.

Superintendent of Ayrshire Police Division, Brian Shaw explained: “At this time no-one has been arrested.

However, the public should be aware that our extensive enquiries are continuing. Ailsa Hospital remains open to staff and patients as normal today.

“I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who was driving in the area of Ailsa Hospital in Dalmellington Road, Ayr, anytime between 9.30am and 10.30am on Thursday and who may have captured the woman on their vehicle’s dashcam. Dalmellington Road is a busy road and there would have been a large volume of vehicles passing during these times.”

The Times understands that the incident was unprovoked, and that the attacker picked on the worker at random after initially looking for another staff member.

It is believed that Irvine mum Donna made her way back into the building with the knife still lodged in her.

People at the scene explained they had been told to “stay inside” and that the “hospital was on lockdown” after the incident had occurred.

One said: “We were told there had been a serious attack, but we weren’t sure where or what had happened, we were urged to stay inside until further notice.”

Another member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We were told there had been a serious incident and under no circumstances were we allowed to leave the building.

“They didn’t tell us what had happened and when we tried to find out some information, they wouldn’t let on to what was going on.

“I am not sure why we are allowed to leave the building so shortly afterwards, but the people I was working with said they received an email that we were allowed to move around with exception of where the crime scene was.”

Ailsa Hospital opened in July 1869 as the Ayrshire District Asylum. It was previously known as Glengall District Asylum, and Glengall House.