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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Police launch manslaughter inquiry at Cumbrian hospital

Police have launched a manslaughter probe into the death of a patient at the West Cumberland Hospital.

West Cumberland photo
West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven

Forty-year-old Michael Parke, from Gote Road in Cockermouth, died in the hospital in Whitehaven on December 6. The force was alerted to the death by the coroner, David Roberts, the next day.

A spokeswoman said he had “raised concerns” with them about the death.

A statement issued to the News & Star confirmed that officers were investigating gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter.

The spokeswoman said the investigation was still underway and Mr Parke’s family were being supported by specially trained officers.

A hospital trust spokeswoman said they were “co-operating fully with the police investigation”.

“We are not able to comment further whilst this investigation is ongoing,” she added.

No details of how Mr Parke died have been released.

His cousin, Ross Parke, said the family did want to say anything about the investigation. He was not prepared to say why Mr Parke was in the hospital.

When an inquest was opened into Mr Parke’s death last year no cause of death was listed.

News of the police probe comes after it was revealed last month that a national health team is expected to come to the West Cumberland and Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle to investigate their “higher-than-expected death rates”.

Last year, North Cumbria Hospitals University NHS Trust had the second-highest mortality figures using the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR). Now a ‘rapid review team’ is being brought in to support the trust – which runs the hospitals – in a bid to get the numbers down.

The action, and similar intervention at 13 other trusts across the country, comes in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire health scandal where poor care led to 1,200 needless deaths.

However, the north Cumbria trust started looking into death rates last year after the Dr Foster research group revealed it was one of 12 in the country with death rates higher than expected.

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