NHS sex attacks 'up 50% since 2011'
Police have received more than 1,600 reports of sexual abuse in NHS hospitals, private clinics and health centres in the last three years, new figures have suggested.
According to a Freedom of Information request by the Guardian, data from 38 out of 45 police forces in the UK reveals a 50% increase in reports since 2011 and totalling 1,615 alleged attacks including 157 rapes.
The paper said the Metropolitan Police had been told of 17 rapes and 124 other sexual offences, accounting for 20% of all reports, with mental health patients being particularly vulnerable.
Luciana Berger, shadow minister for public health, told the paper: "A zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse must be pursued in the NHS. All victims should feel safe to come forward and every incident properly dealt with by the police, courts and health service, to ensure every perpetrator is brought to justice.
"Ministers must order an immediate review of security, with a focus on mental health units."
Responding to the Guardian, an NHS England spokesman said: "It is of course essential that both NHS and independent hospitals do everything to ensure that patients are safe and feel safe in their premises, and where concerns arise the police must be able to bring to bear the full force of the law."