A Health authority has been criticised after it emerged hospitals have paid out almost £70,000 compensation in the last three years for patients' lost property.

NHS Lothian came under fire after it was revealed 37 sets of dentures, 42 pairs of glasses and 88 items of clothing have disappeared since 2011. Jewellery, cash and mobile phones have also gone missing.

An average of £248 was paid out to each patient with a successful claim for vanished items. On one occasion, bosses paid £30 for a lost iPhone charger, despite alternatives being avail­able online for £4.

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Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, branded the compensation bill "totally unacceptable". She added: "They need to be speaking to the cleaners and be much more vigilant in what they are throwing out."

NHS Lothian paid out £35,000 in 2011 after misplacing 116 items. The bill fell to £14,000 in 2012 after losing 90 items, but rose to £20,500 last year for 78 missing possessions.