Update: Member of medical staff at James Paget Hospital bailed by police following death of 76-year-old

Suspicious death at the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston. Picture: James Bass.

Suspicious death at the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2011

A member of medical staff arrested in connection with a suspicious death at a north Suffolk hospital has been bailed.

The middle-aged man was detained on suspicion of murder and questioned by detectives at a Norfolk police station following an incident at the James Paget in Gorleston.

He has now been released on bail until a date in November while officers continue with enquiries.

Police have said they will not be confirming the exact bail date at this time.

The hospital called in the police following the suspicious death of 76-year-old James May.

Police said yesterday they are investigating the possibility that a drugs overdose was administered to Mr May, from Great Yarmouth, who died at the hospital on Friday, September 20.

The hospital subsequently reported an allegation of medical malpractice in connection with his death to police on Monday, September 30.

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The death is being treated as suspicious and an investigation, led by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, is currently underway.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Durham said: “We are investigating an allegation that a drugs overdose was administered to a patient, leading to his death.

“A Home Office post-mortem, carried out earlier this week, determined the cause of Mr May’s death as heart failure and we now await the results of further toxicology tests which will help inform our inquiry.

“We understand that this news may generate concern and it’s important for us to underline that our investigation, which is still at an early stage, is based on a single report of an isolated incident and that the hospital trust is co-operating fully with the investigation.”

The Home Office post-mortem examination was carried out at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Wednesday.

Mr May’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by Police Family Liaison Officers.

Christine Allen, chief executive of the James Paget University Hospitals, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of this patient at what is a very difficult time.

“Our priority is patient safety and we understand that this news will cause concern. At this time, we believe it is an isolated incident and relates to the alleged action of a single member of staff. The member of staff against whom the allegation has been made is absent from the Trust and will not return until the investigation is completed.

“Throughout this difficult period, the James Paget University Hospital will continue to provide the best possible care to our patients and we are fully co-operating with the police.”

Anyone with any concerns or who may wish to speak to an officer with information in relation to the inquiry can contact the Major Investigation Team on 01953 424533 or 424528. The lines will be open between 9am and 5pm and all calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.