Mobile tracking and alert devices are to be issued to staff in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to protect them from stalkers.

The devices will be issued as one of a range of measures to help protect at risk NHS staff from stalking and harassment.

Scotland’s largest health board said it will use GPS technology to help ensure employees are safe as part of a new anti-stalking policy.

The health board, which has 44,000 employees, created the policy after incidents where staff faced "unwanted and intrusive contact."

In some cases, staff were followed, secretly photographed and harassed and suffered damage to personal property. The policy also covers online stalking through social media networks.

The mobile alert devices mean staff, such as health visitors who visit patients at home alone, can press a panic button if they feel threatened. This will send an alert to their colleagues, with details of their location.

Strathclyde Police Domestic Abuse Task Force worked with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on the policy, the first of its kind within NHS Scotland.

The policy describes stalking as a form of predatory behaviour or targeted violence taking place over time.

The policy lists behaviours which amount to stalking, ranging from sexual harassment to mounting whispering campaigns.

Measures to support victims, particularly lone workers, are also outlined including the GPS devices, buddying-up arrangements and mentoring.

Each individual act may not be illegal or seem worthy of note in itself, but the pattern represents a threat.

Ann Moulds of Action Scotland Against Stalking, which helped to develop the anti-stalking policy, said: “Workplace stalking frequencies have without doubt been underestimated. The structure of the working environment can make it easier for a stalker to track and pursue their victim with relative ease.”

Kenneth Fleming, the health board’s head of health and safety, said: "This new policy will raise awareness of the issue amongst staff, managers and human resources personnel and provides guidance and a framework for recognising stalking, and supporting staff affected."