Council cleaner’s HIV test wait after drug needle stab in Sunderland toilets

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A COUNCIL worker faces an agonising wait for medical test results after he was stabbed by a discarded syringe.

The Sunderland City Council employee had been cleaning public toilets at Park Lane in the city centre when he was pricked by the needle, hidden inside a toilet roll holder.

The worker now faces having to undergo a series of different medical tests for conditions including HIV, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

The Echo understands the only protective clothing the worker was wearing at the time he sustained the injury was a pair of blue Marigold gloves.

Now, the employee faces a difficult wait while tests are analysed before he can be given the all-clear.

The incident has highlighted concerns over addicts discarding syringes in public toilets and the dangers which council cleaners face.

Figures obtained by the Echo reveal there were 179 items of discarded drugs paraphernalia, including needles, found around the city between January last year and this February.

There was also 179 discarded needles found across County Durham in 2012.

Councillor James Blackburn, from Sunderland City Council, said: “A discarded needle was found in Park Lane Interchange public toilets. We are looking into the circumstances surrounding this incident. All staff are trained in how to safely dispose of needles and syringes and are provided with protective clothing, including gloves.

“We would urge anyone who sees discarded syringes or drugs related litter to contact us.

“We will always endeavour to send out council officers on the same day to collect them.

“Needles are disposed of by a specialist contractor and locations are logged to identify any potential problem areas.”

Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of direct services, said: “Our street cleaning staff and wardens are aware of the hazards posed by needlestick injuries, and have the necessary equipment and training to ensure safe disposal.”