Question: What do 20 pairs of pants, five sets of dentures, a brand new mobile phone and a yellow Teletubby have in common?
Answer: They’re all items which have been left behind by patients or visitors to Hull Royal Infirmary (HRI) and which are now awaiting collection from the hospital’s Lost Property store.
Since formally introducing its Lost Property service to the HRI site at the end of May, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has seen more than 420 instances of goods being handed in. Yet only 24 people have so far reclaimed their property, meaning the Trust is sitting on a stash of glasses, watches and headphones just waiting to be reunited with their owners.
Mark Rank manages the Lost Property Office for the Trust. He explains:
“Since we began centrally recording and storing items of lost property in May, we’ve had hundreds of individual items handed in. Sometimes it can be staff who have lost car keys or ID badges, and other times it can be patients or visitors who have brought items into hospital, such as phone chargers, wallets or slippers, and for whatever reason they’ve forgotten to take them home.
“Whilst the majority of things we are holding here in our Lost Property store are the kind of items you might expect people coming into hospital to bring; toiletries, clothing etc; we have come across a few more obscure items such as a pair of Wellington boots and a set of craft materials.
“We get a lot of items found in the Emergency Department and Acute Assessment Unit, most likely due to the high level of footfall the departments receive but also because patients are generally being seen here as urgent cases, so their focus is on their health more than their personal effects.
“But belongings are not always found in the places you might expect, so for example we’ve had items recovered from the hospital chapel, the toilets, and even on top of bins.
“We’ve been amazed at how much property we’ve accumulated in the space of just 11 weeks, and so we’re now keen to reunite more of these items, some of which are likely to hold great sentimental value to people, with their rightful owners.”
But false claimants beware! The Trust goes through a number of checks with every individual claiming to have lost an item before it is returned, including date checks to confirm when the item was lost and requests for evidence of ownership. In all cases, those having property returned to them are asked to bring photographic ID. This is photocopied, the copies retained, and then passed to the police should any claim turn out to be illegitimate.
If you think you’ve lost an item at or around Hull Royal Infirmary within the last twelve months and would like to check whether it’s been handed in, contact the Lost Property Service on (01482) 675257