THEY are items of clothing most people hope they never wear again.

But hospital pyjamas at Southampton General Hospital are in short supply with almost 2,000 going missing since January.

Pyjamas are among the items most often taken from hospitals by patients when they go home – with just 73 pairs remaining of 2,000 bought in January.

Medical pyjama sets costs the hospital £6 each, meaning it has lost out on more than £11,000 in clothing.

Walking sticks and blankets are also frequently taken away as patients collect their belongings before leaving.

Now University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, which runs Southampton General and Princess Anne hospitals, is offering an amnesty on any items taken from its premises.

Juliet Cox, head of patient experience, said: “The loss of any hospital property, whether it is clothing, crutches or other equipment, does have an impact, both in terms of supplies for other patients and the cost of replacements.

“Although we will always have gowns and nightwear available to protect patients’ privacy and dignity, a few small steps can ensure we avoid unnecessarily purchasing additional clothing and can put the funds to better use.”

She added: “We are working with patients and staff to highlight the problem and have launched a project with nursing and care homes across the city to ensure patients have their own clothes to return home in or are supplied with disposable alternatives.”

The hospital is also updating ‘Your stay in Hospital’ booklets highlighting the need for patients to bring their own clothes.

The news comes as researchers at the University of Southampton and the University of Portsmouth have designed a copper-infused fabric that can fight back against infections like MRSA.

Embedded in a pair of pyjamas, the fabric attracts bacteria which then clusters and is destroyed.