NEEDLES had to be removed from two Southampton hospitals after they were deliberately left embedded in public areas.

Nine needles were found in wooden stairwells and door frames around Southampton General and Princess Anne hospitals – six inside the latter which is renowned for its maternity unit.

Staff quickly removed the ‘skin prick’ needles after sweeping both hospitals and confirmed no more were found.

Hospital bosses claimed they had not posed a danger because the way they were inserted only left the plastic ends exposed.

Andy Hyett, deputy chief operating officer at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, said: “Two small collections of skin prick needles were found by staff embedded into wooden stairwells and door frames at Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals.

“These were concentrated in one area of each building and the plastic ends exposed from the wood would not have caused any injury or harm to passers-by.

“All needles were safely removed upon discovery and our site and security teams followed up the incident with a sweep of all areas of both hospitals where no further items were found.”

One University of Southampton worker, based at the General, claimed university staff were alerted to the problem but hospital staff were not told about the needles.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “Apparently staff in both the PAH and SGH hospitals were not informed of the incident. I think this information should be available to all.”

A trust spokesman said some hospital and university managers began sending out warning emails but were asked to stop to “avoid unnecessary panic”.

Mr Hyett added the trust considered the incident resolved but would continue to monitor the areas closely.

He said: “No further action is required by anyone as a result of the incident and our sites continue to be monitored and regularly patrolled by site and security staff throughout the day and night as normal.”

But there was no response from the trust when the Daily Echo asked whether the culprit had been caught and if anything specific was being done to prevent another incident.