POLICE are investigating whether a hospital patient died after being given cleaning fluid to drink by mistake.

Sussex Police said they were investigating the death of an 85 year old woman at the Royal Sussex County Hospital last month.

The Argus understands the investigation is looking into whether the patient was given a cup of orange liquid – which it was mistakenly believed was juice – but may have turned out to be a cleaning product.

Police officers have been conducting a wide ranging investigation at the hospital – including interviewing staff across various departments.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Following the sudden death of an 85-year-old woman at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, on Saturday 23 September, an investigation is taking place involving the police, the NHS and the Care Quality Commission. The death has been referred to the coroner and at this stage remains unexplained. “

The Brighton and Sussex University Hospital’s Trust said they could not give any official comment on the investigation which was now in the hands of the police.

A source at the hospital said: “It is a really big investigation.

“There was a glass of orange coloured juice new to the patient’s bed on the ward and a nurse gave it to her to drink. But they think maybe a cleaner or someone left it there and it wasn’t orange juice but orange coloured cleaning fluid. And the woman has died.

“They are clearly taking it really seriously because everyone is being questioned about it, whether they had direct contact with the patient or not.”

Dozens of staff from across the trust are being called into private rooms across the hospital site and being questioned by police officers.