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Three nurses among fresh arrests over alleged poisoning of patients

Police say ongoing investigation at Blackpool trust ‘remains a complex and sensitive inquiry’

Police say ongoing investigation at Blackpool trust ‘remains a complex and sensitive inquiry’


Picture: Alamy

Three nurses and a healthcare assistant have been arrested on suspicion of administering poison or a noxious substance at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

In November last year, police were contacted by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after concerns were raised about the care provided to some patients.

The allegations related to the alleged mistreatment and neglect of patients on the stroke unit in November 2018.

Growing investigation

Lancashire Constabulary said one man and three women were arrested on 3 April ‘on suspicion of administering any poison or noxious thing with the intent to injure and ill treatment or wilful neglect’. They are being held in custody at the time of writing.

The police said this brings the total number of people arrested as part of the investigation to seven, after a woman was arrested in November, and a man and a woman were arrested in December, also ‘on suspicion of administering any poison or noxious thing with the intent to injure and ill treatment or wilful neglect’.

Staff suspension

The three nurses arrested last year have since been released, pending further enquiries. They were suspended by the trust in November as part of safeguarding procedures.

The four individuals arrested today have been suspended since December.

Police officers are working closely with the trust and HM Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde as part of the investigation. A number of post-mortem examinations have been conducted.

In January, detectives confirmed that a murder investigation was ongoing following the death of a woman in her 70s on the stroke unit in November. This is being treated as a separate investigation.

Ensuring patient safety

Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston said of the latest arrests: ‘Our investigation into allegations of mistreatment and neglect of patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is ongoing.

‘I understand that these further arrests could be concerning, but I would like to reassure people that we have a dedicated team of detectives working on this investigation.

‘Our priority, and the priority of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is to ensure the safety of patients.

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

Response from the trust

The trust’s chief executive Wendy Swift said allegations of this nature were taken extremely seriously and that the trust was cooperating fully with the police.

‘We would like to reassure our patients that all necessary actions are being taken,’ she added.

‘The hospital remains a safe and caring environment for patients, and the provision of services will continue as usual.’

Anyone with information can contact the police by calling 101 and quoting log reference 0553 of November 14.


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