A Cumbrian hospital is at the centre of a manslaughter investigation after a 40-year-old patient died while in its care.

Cumbria Police has begun a gross negligence and corporate manslaughter inquiry into the death of Cockermouth resident Michael Parke at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven on December 6, after concerns were raised about his care.

A spokesperson for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust confirmed that an investigation had been launched and that that they were “co-operating fully” with the police.

A police statement revealed that it was told about Mr Parke’s death at the hospital on December 7 by a coroner who “raised concerns” about how he died.

The statement confirms that this is an investigation into possible “gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter”, and that the family of Mr Parke are being supported by police officers.

North Cumbria is one of a group of trusts currently subject to a probe led by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, into hospitals which have had persistently higher than expected mortality rates.