Rape probe at Sheffield hospital

A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.
A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.
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An alleged rape and sexual assault of two women are among 30 incidents which have taken place at Sheffield hospitals in a three-month period.

New figures reveal there have been 29 physical assaults by patients at Northern General Hospital, Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Weston Park Hospital in an 88-day period between December 1, 2014, and February 28, 2015.

A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.

A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.

The incidents are revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request by The Star under our Your Right To Know Campaign.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed they are investigating a reported rape and sexual assault of two women at the Northern General Hospital on Herries Road.

A spokesman said: “Police are investigating a reported rape and sexual assault of two women in Sheffield.

“Officers received reports at around 4.20am on Thursday 26 February that two women, aged 20 and 22, are alleged to have been sexually assaulted in the Northern General Hospital in Herries Road.

A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.

A security fence has been put on the Barnsley Road side of the Northern General Hospital near Bagley Woods.

“A 33-year-old man was arrested and bailed pending further enquiries.”

A total of 19 assaults happened at Northern General or within its grounds, 10 assaults occurred within Royal Hallamshire Hospital and one within Weston Park Hospital.

Staff at Northern General Hospital were also warned earlier this year about safety concerns surrounding a path alongside the site’s grounds on Barnsley Road.

A fence has since been erected along Barnsley Road adjacent to Fir Vale Woods.

An email circulated to hospital staff, before the fence was installed, said: “In response to understandable anxiety from staff following security incidents around the Northern General Hospital/woods near Barnsley Road, a decision has been made by a working group looking into site security to erect a fence to prevent staff and the public from using this area as a footpath.

“The fence will prevent access to the short cut through the woods and will run from near the Barnsley Road entrance, along the hospital boundary wall of Bagley Woods, up to the multi-storey car park near spinal injuries.

“The safety of our staff, patients and the community are paramount and we hope that individuals who have used this area as a shortcut can understand why this safety measure is necessary.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the alleged rape at the Northern General Hospital ‘did not have any staff involvement’.

The Trust also addressed concerns raised surrounding the Northern General Hospital incident.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Incidents of serious deliberate assault are very rare within our hospitals and all deliberate incidents are reported to the police.

“The 29 incidents reported are predominantly as a result of a patient’s mental or physical condition and are not deliberate.

“We have had one report of alleged rape which involved members of the public and did not have any staff involvement.

“This is currently being investigated by the police but it should be stressed that this is considered to be a one off incident.

“We regularly remind all staff to think about personal safety and indeed we have recently distributed messages advising staff not to walk through the wooded area adjacent to the Northern General Hospital because we became aware of incidents which had taken place.

“The entrance to this area from the hospital site has now been closed off to deter staff from taking a shortcut through this area.”