Police Investigate Blackpool Victoria Hospital Stroke Patient Deaths

A police investigation into the neglect of patients at a hospital is now examining eight deaths, the BBC has discovered.

A coroner has been asked to review the deaths at Blackpool Victoria Infirmary, which all happened in late 2018.

A separate and unrelated murder investigation into the death of another patient is ongoing.

Lancashire Police officers are investigating events on the hospital’s stroke ward in 2018.

Between November that year and April 2019 seven health care professionals were arrested on suspicion of neglect and mistreatment.

They were later released under investigation pending further inquiries.

BBC North West Tonight has now discovered that police have asked Blackpool Coroner’s office to review the deaths of eight patients who had been on the ward.

The coroner will decide whether there is a need for inquests into how they died.

This is one of two investigations into the stroke unit. In the course of the original investigation, known as Operation Bermuda, a number of post-mortem examinations were carried out.

One of those was on Valerie Kneale, from Blackpool, who died in November 2018. It was found she had died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical-related internal injury.

Police then began a second, separate murder investigation, known as Operation Jordan.

From that came further allegations of serious sexual assault against two patients and the sexual assault of a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit.

In March a man, also described as a healthcare professional, was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one of sexual assault. He was released on bail until 3 June.

Lancashire Police has stressed the eight deaths are not being examined by the team looking into Ms Kneale’s alleged murder, but rather the operation investigating alleged mistreatment and neglect.

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