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Hospital worker arrested for murder, rape and sex assaults on stroke ward
A hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and sexual assault following a probe into the mistreatment of patients on a stroke ward.
Police launched a murder investigation into the death of Valerie Kneale, 75, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in November 2018, when it was revealed she died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical related internal injury.
Officers also received information related to other allegations of serious sexual assaults against two patients, as well as the sexual assault of a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit.
The male worker, who has not been named, was detained on Wednesday and has been suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
A separate investigation into suspected poisoning of patients on the unit is ongoing.
Seven healthcare professionals have previously been arrested as part of the poisoning probe.
Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston said: We have today arrested a man in connection with a number of serious offences.
We understand this will cause some significant concern in the community but please be reassured we have a dedicated team of officers conducting a number of enquiries.
These are complicated and sensitive allegations which we are committed to investigating thoroughly.
We are offering support to those involved and they are being updated throughout the process by trained officers.
Our priority and the priority of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to ensure the safety of patients.
We are working closely with the trust as well as HM Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde as part of the investigation.
If you have any information or have worked on the stroke unit and can assist with our enquiries, please come forward and speak to police immediately.
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