The investigation into a hospital hit by allegations of tampering with saline drips took a new twist yesterday amid claims that a bottle of milk had been contaminated with bleach.
A patient was reported to have taken a small sip but was unharmed. The incident at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport on Saturday – described as "crude and unsophisticated" – is believed to have happened on a different ward from the two at the centre of the tampering inquiry.
It is the first suspected poisoning incident at Stepping Hill since police were called in two months ago to investigate the deliberate contamination of saline drips with insulin. Detectives believe three people may have died and up to 30 been harmed.
In a statement, police said: "Stepping Hill is made up of a large community of people and it is unlikely that every incident reported is connected to the concerted and deliberate criminality already being investigated."
Four cases referred to police by the coroner have been ruled out of the tampering investigation, said Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney.