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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Elderly patient 'raped' in mental unit
CCTV camera
Hospital security is being questioned again
Police in London are investigating an allegation that a 60-year-old female patient was raped in her ward at a mental health unit.

The woman was allegedly attacked in the Brent ward of the John Connolly unit of the West London Mental Health Trust on Friday, a police spokesman said.

The suspect was described as a black male - Scotland Yard said no further details were available.

A Department of Health (DoH) spokesman said the incident was extremely disturbing and the department passed on its sympathies to the patient and her family.

Second rape

Newspapers reported that the rapist is believed to have walked in off the street, through a mixed sex ward and into his victim's own room.

The DoH spokesman said the patient in question had an individual room and was not in a ward.

He said it was hard to see how patients could be isolated from people coming in from outside without turning hospitals into prisons.

It is the second rape in a London hospital to have been reported in a month.

Mixed sex wards

Detectives are investigating the rape of a 71-year-old woman being treated for cancer at King's College Hospital on 1 May.

She was pushed to the floor by a white man in his 50s in a toilet in a mixed sex ward.

Police believe the rapist could be a fellow patient or a hospital worker - but have not ruled out the possibility that someone from outside evaded hospital security.

Both incidents have raised concerns about security in hospitals and mixed sex wards.

The government plans to phase out mixed wards in 95% of health trusts by the end of 2002.

A recent study by the mental health charity Mind suggested that more than half of patients in mixed sex psychiatric wards had been subjected to sexual harassment and intimidation.


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14 Jun 02 | Health
14 Jun 02 | England
05 Mar 02 | England
23 Apr 02 | Health
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