Hospital faces sexual assault claims

A hospital worker has been arrested after patients claimed they had been sexually abused, police said yesterday (Sunday March 6th).

Allegations were made about the behaviour of a staff member on Ward 17 at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Bedfordshire where stroke victims are believed to be treated.

Yesterday the employee had been suspended from duty after police launched a full probe into the allegations.

The Bedfordshire hospital has also written to people who were patients there from September 2009 to find out if they were made to feel "anxious or uncomfortable" while on the ward.

A police spokesman said that the worker had been arrested and quizzed by detectives about the allegations before being released on police bail.

He refused to reveal any further details about the members of hospital staff, including their gender or what position they held.

The police spokesman said: "Bedfordshire Police are conducting an investigation into a number of allegations of serious sexual offences on former patients of ward 17 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

"A member of staff from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital has been arrested, questioned and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

"The Hospital also suspended this member of staff immediately after this allegation came to light.

"The hospital and the police are working collaboratively to deal with this matter."

A statement released by the hospital said: "Following recent allegations by patients about staff conduct on one of the hospital's adult wards, senior managers took immediate action to inform the police who are now conducting an investigation into this matter.

"The hospital has written to all patients who were cared for in the recent past on the ward to find out if there are any other concerns.

"The allegations relate to staff conduct and do not relate to any clinical issues or the medical treatment of patients."

Former patients of ward 17 who have concerns about their care are asked to contact Detective Inspector Jerry Waite or Detective Sergeant Vicky Clarke from the vulnerable adult unit on 01582 473092 or vaiu@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

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