Staff at St John's Hospital in Livingston appear to have been forced into using cable ties to secure hand sanitiser after reports of thefts from hospitals across the NHS Lothian area.
One woman was visiting her mother at the hospital when she snapped a picture of one bottle of hand gel tied round a wooden barrier outside the Medical Assistance Unit, located in the urgent care centre.
She told the Evening News: "I'm not ashamed of taking the picture, the nurses and doctors are only trying to do their job and people have stooped so low to steal it from the hospital.
"I can't believe this is the stage it's at."
She had also heard that people were stealing soap bars from the toilets.
Jacquie Campbell, chief officer at Acute Services with NHS Lothian, said: “We would like to remind people that the most effective way of combating COVID-19 is through regular and thorough hand washing which is why it is important for the hospital wards to have easy access to hand sanitising gels.
“Hand gel in wards are there to protect staff, visitors and patients, and are not to be removed for any reason.”