An 85-year-old woman is alleged to have had her handbag stolen while a patient at Croydon University Hospital.
Friends of June Murrell have now accused the hospital of not dealing adequately with the incident.
Friend Steven Peet said: “The handbag was full of money and keys to her house.
“The hospital showed an incapacity to think up a strategy to deal with the issue. I had to suggest going to the police.”
Police are investigating the theft of the handbag which is alleged to have happened between September 26 and 27.
A spokesman for Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said staff worked hard to ensure patients were kept safe at all times.
He said: “Our nursing staff were very busy caring for patients on the night Mrs Murrell’s bag went missing and it appears there was a delay in reporting it. “They did locate the bag later that night but sadly some of the contents were missing.
“Our security teams and the police were subsequently informed.
“We are concerned and are disappointed that this theft occurred while Mrs Murrell was in our care and we will do all we can to assist the investigations.
“We urge patients to make us aware of any personal belongings that may need to be locked up safely, and also to ask their relatives to take any valuables home.”