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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Milburn 'appalled' by patient rape
Alan Milburn
Alan Milburn says "questions should be asked"
Health Secretary Alan Milburn has described the rape of a 60-year-old woman patient at a London hospital as "appalling".

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

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

Speaking in the Commons, Alan Milburn said: "It does raise some profound questions for the National Health Service.

"There are some evil people out there and what we have to do is make sure that the right form of protection is available for patients without turning all of our hospitals into prisons."

'Extremely disturbing'

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.

The 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.

Detectives are also 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.


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