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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 20:45 GMT
Patient guilty of ward sex attack
Royal Bolton Hospital
The hospital said it complied with government guidelines
A male patient has been found guilty of sexually abusing an 82-year-old woman with dementia who was on a mixed sex hospital ward in Greater Manchester.

Dean Galley, 41, of Long Town Gardens, Halliwell, denied the charge of sexual assault at Royal Bolton Hospital but was convicted at Bolton Crown Court.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing on 1 February.

The use of mixed-sex wards in hospitals has been criticised by the charity Age Concern.

A hospital spokeswoman said it complied with national government guidelines on single-sex accommodation.

"When the incident occurred we did do a full review of all our processes and the Strategic Health Authority were involved in the that," said Lesley Doherty, head of nursing, at Royal Bolton Hospital.

"It did show that we were fully compliant with all Department of Health guidelines at that time and we continue to do spot checks."

Gareth Evans, from the charity's Bolton branch, said: "There's an urgent need to review the guidance that's issued to hospital trusts to safeguard the well-being of older patients."

He added: "We need to abolish mixed-sex wards. It's time the government addressed the issue."

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