Forgetful patients leave behind hundreds of items


By Cara Sulieman

FORGETFUL patients are leaving behind hundreds of pieces of jewellery in Scotland’s hospitals according to new figures.

A total of 275 sparkling jewels were left languishing in lost property until they were claimed by their owner.

Other unusual items left behind include instructions for building a bicycle, a lotto ticket, a set of dentures, a birth certificate, a kilt pin, two knives and a piece of crochet.

The list released under freedom of information laws reveals the items misplaced in six of Scotland’s health boards.


The other eight boards said that they don’t keep a record of things found in their hospitals.

As well as the more unusual items, 171 keys, 66 necklaces, 52 earrings, 50 bracelets, 107 rings, 78 pairs of glasses, 40 mobile phones, and 132 watches cropped up across the country.

And members of the public also dropped a total of £757.37 in cash at various hospitals.

In most cases, any lost property system is informal and any high value items are handed to the local police station.

NHS Highland only keep records at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

“Secure container”

Their response said: “In most hospitals, there is no formal lost property service as most items left behind are of minimal value.

“The informal system in most hospitals is that every effort is made to identify who it belongs to.

“If this is not possible, it is kept at reception or, if valuable, is kept in a safe or other secure container.

“If it is not claimed within a month, then it would generally be handed over to the police.”

Again at NHS Lanarkshire the process for lost property is quite informal.

They said: “NHS Lanarkshire has a range of lost property arrangements across our three acute hospital sites.

“These vary depending on where items are handed in and we do not centrally record items that are handed into individual wards or departments.”

Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Orkney and Shetland hospitals don’t keep a record of lost property items handed in.

NHS Orkney said: “We operate an informal system whereby lost items are handed in to the switchboard, and usually they are collected by the owner.

“The numbers are so small that we don’t keep itemised lists and are therefore unable to provide the details required.”