CONTAINERS full of hand gel are being stolen from hospitals and healthcare facilities in East Lothian and across Scotland as people try to keep their hands clean and virus free during the coronavirus outbreak.

Alison Macdonald, chief officer of East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, highlighted the issue on Twitter and said “please just don’t” to those taking hand gels from hospitals.

She added: “Hospital hand gel is part of the frontline defence against infection for patients, visitors and staff.

“My message to people who think it’s OK to pinch it is ‘just don’t’ – you are putting vulnerable people and key health staff at risk.”

Jacquie Campbell, chief officer of acute services at 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 is there to protect staff, visitors and patients, and is not to be removed for any reason.”