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04.04.19

Four arrested at Blackpool Victoria Hospital over allegations of poisoning

Four healthcare professionals have been arrested by police on suspicion of administering poison to patients at a Blackpool hospital “with the intent to injure.”

The allegations relate to the mistreatment and neglect of patients on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and follows the arrest of three other healthcare professionals in November last year.

Lancashire Police confirmed that one man and three women who work at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT had been arrested, and that the investigation in the mistreatment and neglect of patients is “very much on-going.”

The Blackpool trust said it had suspended the first three individuals in November as part of safe guarding procedures, whilst the four other healthcare professionals were suspended in December following further investigation by police.

Officers are working closely with the hospitals trust and the HM Coroner in the investigation, and a number of post-mortem examinations have been conducted as part of the police’s enquiries.

Detective chief inspector Jill Johnston said she understood that further arrests could be concerning, but reassured people that its priority and that of the trust was to ensure the safety of patients.

She said: “Our investigation into allegations of mistreatment and neglect of patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is very much on-going.

“Given the number of arrests and the nature of the allegations, it remains a complex and sensitive inquiry.

“No timescales have been set and I would ask people to remain patient while we continue to conduct our enquiries.

“A number of post-mortem examinations have taken place in connection with our investigation and we are supporting those families who have had loved ones identified as potentially being involved. They are being kept fully updated and supported throughout the process by specially trained officers.”

Lancashire Police detectives also confirmed that a murder investigation into the death of a woman in her 70s at the trust’s stroke unit in November was also on-going, but that it was being treated as a separate investigation.

Wendy Swift, the chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust, commented: “We take all allegations of this type extremely seriously and when the concerns were raised last year about the individuals they were immediately suspended.

“The trust contacted police as soon the allegations were made and we are continuing to work with them and co-operating fully with their investigation.

“We would like to reassure our patients that all necessary actions are being taken. The hospital remains a safe and caring environment for patients and the provision of services will continue as usual.’’

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