Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust is to be prosecuted after it was alleged a bucket of used needles was left within reach of a four-year-old child at Barnet Hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive is to take action after claims the child was exposed to injury or infection when a brightly-coloured bucket containing sharp instruments was left in the hospital's cardiology department in July 2003.

"The bucket is known as a sharps box', specifically designed to keep sharp instruments inside it and is brightly coloured for the protection of the public," said Alison MacDonald, deputy director of communications for the trust.

"The trust accepts we were at fault and did undertake a full investigation at the time.

"We have taken steps since then to ensure sharps boxes are not accessible to patients or public. We are very glad the child didn't suffer any injuries as a result. "