Patients discovered the hoard of best-selling magazines from 1999 in Ayr Hospital.
Titles including Bella and Chat were reported to be still on display on tables in waiting areas.
At the time of printing the hospital was just eight years old.
The titles are now so old that newborn babies from the era would now be old enough to be employed at the hospital.
Chat and Bella from August 1999 and another even older mass market magazine were found in the outpatients department, according to local newspaper The Ayreshire Post.
In other departments there are publications from 2007.
One visitor told the paper: “I think Ayr Hospital needs to update their reading material.”
And another added: “Yuck, germ-riddled. Cannot believe they have not been stolen though.”
Joanne Edwards, the assistant director for acute services at the local health board, said the hospital has no magazine policy.
She said: “We are aware that people may bring magazines into hospital with them and then leave them for other patients to read.
“Indeed, people may often donate old magazines they have collected at home.
“Our staff routinely tidy and review the magazines within waiting areas on a regular basis and dispose of magazines based on their condition, rather than their age.”
Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner Dr Lisa Ackerley - TV’s so-called “The Hygiene Doctor” - commented: “This does sound a bit strange, but you can pick up bugs from a magazine out last month as much as from an old Farmers’ Weekly.
“A lot of people are now wondering if you should have toys in hospitals to play with and I have noticed a disappearance of magazines in waiting rooms on the basis of hygiene.
“However long they have been there doesn’t rule out someone picking up last month’s Vogue and leaving organisms on it.
“The user has to take responsibility and wash their hands afterwards or use the gel in hospitals.
“The only upside of the age of the magazines is it might be a history lesson for some people.”