Blackpool Victoria poisoning probe: Stroke unit investigation still under way at hospital

The drug in question
The drug in question

New families of patients from the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, which is at the centre of a major police investigation, continue to be contacted, it was understood.

Three nurses have been suspended – and arrested and bailed – following allegations they were dosing patients with prescription-only pills to keep them heavily-sedated during the night.

A number of funerals were cancelled as post-mortem examinations were carried out, and detectives continued to ask for DNA as recently as Friday. The patient in question is believed to have died last week, with their hair being tested.

READ MORE>>> Vic poisoning probe: Here's what we know so far

According to the NHS, the drug, Zopiclone, has to be ordered specially by a patient’s doctor, and comes in liquid or tablet form. It is routinely prescribed and, when used properly, is safe.

Last month, it was claimed that up to eight former patients on the stroke unit had so far been identified as potential victims.

The original allegations were made by a whistle blower, who is also a member of staff of the 780-bed hospital.

The hospital called in the police on November 8 last year, with the first nurse arrested the day after.

Health industry regulators have since placed restrictions on at least two medics at the Vic, including banning them from prescribing medication. A spokesman for the hospital would not comment when asked whether that move was linked to the ongoing investigation.

The matter had been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, however, while police were also reportedly looking at the way drip feeds and cannulas were used on the ward.