WORKFORCE: A healthcare assistant has been charged with raping a patient at one of Western Sussex Hospitals Trust’s hospitals.

Sajin Kunjappu Panikkassery, 29, of Langton Road, Chichester, has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of rape of a woman patient at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, on 10 January, according to Sussex Police.

Mr Panikkassery, an HCA at the hospital, has been charged and kept in police custody to appear before Worthing Magistrates Court on 14 January.

The victim, a woman in her 20s, is receiving help and support and is no longer at the hospital, the police said in a statement.

It added that officers were receiving full co-operation from Western Sussex Hospitals Trust.

In a statement the trust confirmed that a member of staff at St Richard’s Hospital has been charged after being arrested by Sussex Police in connection with an alleged incident on 10 January.

“The member of staff will not be working at the trust while the investigation takes place,” the statement said.

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