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Patient helpline opens after hospital doctor arrested on suspicion of sexual assault
13 February 2022, 18:06 | Updated: 13 February 2022, 18:07
A helpline has been set up for concerned patients, parents and guardians after an NHS hospital doctor was arrested on suspicion of child sexual assault.
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Staffordshire Police confirmed there was an "ongoing" investigation into the actions of a 34-year-old West Midlands man who used to work at hospitals in Dudley, West Midlands, and Stoke-on-Trent.
Operation Anzu has been launched by police with the NHS, confirming a major incident review will look at the doctor's work at the hospitals including Russells Hall Hospital and Royal Stoke university hospital.
The Sunday Times reported the arrest was for child sexual assault following complaints about the examinations of two girls aged seven and 15.
Detectives have identified nine potential child victims, according to the newspaper which reported the doctor was excluded from the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust in March and was suspended by the General Medical Council in October.
It also stated that the doctor had rejected any allegations he had committed a criminal act and was co-operating with the investigations.
Staffordshire Police confirmed the 34-year-old had previously been a suspect in 2018, but it was decided there was "insufficient evidence" at that time to take further action and Staffordshire Police was reviewing the 2018 investigation.
A helpline - on 01782 672540 - has since been opened for any patient and guardian who may have concerns.
Staffordshire police has now reported itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) regarding the 2018 investigation.
A police spokesman said: "A 34-year-old man, from the West Midlands, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in December 2021.
"He was released on bail with conditions pending further enquiries. An investigation is ongoing.
"Staffordshire Police is also reviewing an investigation into the same suspect it undertook in 2018, at which time there was insufficient evidence to take further action.
"An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) self-referral has been made by Staffordshire Police in regards to the 2018 investigation."
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust medical director Dr Matthew Lewis said: "This doctor no longer works at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
"We are working closely with Staffordshire Police and cannot make any further comments at present."
Julian Hobbs, medical director of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The individual no longer works at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
"We are working closely with Staffordshire Police and cannot make any further comment at present."
An NHS spokesman said: "These are very serious allegations and the trusts and organisations involved are working closely with the police.
"It would not be appropriate to comment further while the investigation is ongoing."