Police are investigating possible medical negligence at the Royal Sussex County Hospital after reports of dozens of deaths.

Whistleblowers at Brighton’s main hospital raised concerns about roughly 40 deaths after alleged “botched operations”, it has been reported.

Police have confirmed they are investigating the allegations which are said to have taken place over a five-year period.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Sussex Police has received allegations of medical negligence at the Royal Sussex County hospital, Brighton, and is currently assessing these allegations.

“The concerns raised relate to neurosurgery and general surgery in a period between 2015 and 2020.

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“Enquiries are at an early stage and this does not necessarily mean this will lead to criminal prosecution.

“We are working closely with partner agencies and the hospital trust is cooperating fully with our review.”

The Guardian reports that a tribunal hearing against University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust brought by one of the dismissed whistleblowers was halted due to the police investigation this week.

The Guardian reported that Daniel Dyal, the judge in the tribunal, stated: “The police investigation overlaps significantly with the patient safety and mortality issues about which there is a lot of evidence in this case.”

He said it was the West Sussex coroner who first reported allegations about the deaths to the police in April.

The Guardian reported that he said the police investigation could lead to “charges of serious offences including, perhaps, gross negligence manslaughter”. Witnesses from the trust, including two senior clinicians, risked “prejudicing their position in future criminal proceedings” if they gave evidence at the tribunal, he said.