A hospital worker has been chared with sexually assaulting and raping a patient.

On Thursday afternoon, the woman in her 20s told hospital staff she had been raped (Jan 10).

The inpatient at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester said she had been attacked overnight between Wednesday and Thursday (Jan 9 and 10).

Sajin Kunjappu Panikkassery, 29, of Langton Road, Chichester, was arrested on Thursday evening.

He has since been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of rape of a woman patient at the hospital on January 10.

The Healthcare Assistant at the hospital was kept in police custody before appearing at Worthing Magistrates' Court tomorrow (Jan 13).

Police said Panikkassery was not a doctor or a nurse.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins from the West Sussex CID said: “Officers are continuing their enquiries and are receiving full cooperation from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

"The victim is receiving help and support from specially trained police officers."

Western Sussex Hospital's Trust said Panikkassery would not be working at the trust while the allegations were being investigated.

A statement released by the hospital's trust, which also runs Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and Worthing Hospital, said: “Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust can confirm that a member of staff at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, has been arrested by Sussex Police.

“The member of staff will not be working at the trust while the police conduct their investigation.

“The trust is cooperating fully with the police enquiry but is unable to make any further comment while the investigation is ongoing.”

The victim has left the hospital since the attack.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should call Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Jura.