Blackpool Victoria Hospital police investigation leads to 5 health workers being charged with ill-treatment of patients

Five healthcare workers will appear at court charged with multiple criminal offences as part of a major investigation into the ill treatment of patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 6th May 2022, 11:36 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:53 pm

The five former staff members have been charged following a police investigation into alleged offences committed on the Vic’s stroke unit.

In November 2018, Lancashire Police were contacted by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after concerns were raised about the care provided to a number of patients.

Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, five people – three nurses and two health care assistants – will now appear at court.

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Five healthcare professionals will appear at court charged with criminal offences as part of a major investigation into the ill treatment of patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

They are accused of multiple offences relating to the ill-treatment of patients, including the unlawful sedation of patients, conspiracies to ill-treat, as well as the theft and supply of medication.

The charges relate to the period between August 2014 and November 2018.

The following former staff have been charged:

Catherine Hudson

The 52-year-old, of Coriander Close, Blackpool has been charged with:

- seven offences of a care worker ill-treating/wilfully neglecting an individual

- eight offences of conspiring to steal from employer

- one offence of theft by employee

- one offence of perverting the course of justice

Charlotte Wilmot

The 47-year-old, of Bowland Crescent, Blackpool has been charged with:

- one offence of encouraging/assisting in the commission of an offence believing it will be committed – this relates to encouraging a nurse to sedate a patient

- one offence of conspiring to ill-treat a patient

- four offences of conspiring to steal from employer

Matthew Pover

The 39-year-old, of Bearwood Road, Smethwick, West Midlands has been charged with:

- one offence of conspiring to steal from employer

- one offence of theft by employee

- one offence of supplying a Class C drug

- one offence of offering to supply a Class C drug

Victoria Holehouse

The 31-year-old, of Riverside Drive, Hambleton has been charged with:

- two offences of conspiring to steal from employer

Marek Grabianowski

The 45-year-old, of Montpelier Avenue, Bispham has been charged with:

- three offences of conspiring to steal from employer

- one offence of perverting the course of justice

All are due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on May 31.

Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston, leading the investigation, said: “This is a complex investigation into allegations of unlawful sedation and ill treatment of patients on the stroke unit at Blackpool over a number of years.

“The safety of patients and the public remains our absolute priority and this inquiry has investigated the care provided to often elderly and vulnerable people. Everyone should be safe in hospital, to receive the care they require and be treated with dignity and respect.

“Our investigation remains ongoing and we continue to provide support to the many families affected. I would encourage anyone with information to contact the investigation team in confidence and someone from the team will recontact you.”

Anyone with any information can contact the investigation team here or by calling 101 quoting log 0612 of May 4.

Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.

This investigation is not linked to a 51-year-old man charged in December 2021 with a number of sexual assaults at the hospital. The murder investigation into the death of Valerie Kneale on the stroke unit continues.

What did Blackpool Victoria Hospital say about the charges?

Pete Murphy, executive director of nursing and midwifery at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “Our thoughts remain firmly with all of the families involved with and connected to the case, which has been ongoing for a significant period of time.

“The Trust has fully co-operated with police colleagues throughout and continues to do so.

"Above all else, we remain committed to finding the truth and would again urge anyone with any information to come forward and tell the police what they know.

“We will be supporting colleagues throughout the Trust to help them to process this extremely upsetting news and in the meantime, I want to reassure our patients and their families that everything possible has been done and continues to be reviewed to ensure patients are safe and families should be reassured about the quality of care in our hospital and community settings.”

"Many local residents will be shocked and deeply concerned to hear about these arrests. It is clear that there have been systemic failings in the management and oversight of the stroke unit at the Vic and whilst action has been taken to correct this, there will be many patients who have been badly let down when receiving care on that ward between 2014 - 2018. The NHS Trust needs to support the Police as they continue to investigate what has occurred and those who have abused their position of trust need to have the full weight of the law thrown of them."