Body of elderly patient found in grounds of Liverpool hospital
80-year-old patient went missing from Royal Liverpool University Hospital at 7.30pm last night
Was found dead outside the hospital seven hours later
17:20 GMT, 14 February 2013
20:21 GMT, 14 February 2013
Police have launched an investigation after an 80-year-old patient went missing and was found dead outside a hospital seven hours later.
Staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital called emergency services when the unidentified elderly man could not be found.
Concerns were raised after the man disappeared from inside the hospital at around 7:30pm last night.
Officers from Merseyside Police carried out an 'extensive search' of the hospital grounds but were unable to locate the patient.
An 80 year-old patient went missing Royal Liverpool University Hospital and was found dead outside the hospital seven hours later
After seven hours and 15 minutes, a body was found at 2:45am outside the hospital building, but within the grounds on the edge of the city centre.
Temperatures overnight were just above freezing and there was heavy rain, so conditions would have been harsh on a vulnerable man.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said a Home Office post mortem examination will take place to establish the cause of death.
He added: 'The man’s next of kin have been informed but he is yet to be formally identified.'
The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is the biggest and busiest hospital on Merseyside with more than 40 wards and more than 750 beds.
Last month it was reported that 600 jobs were to be axed at the hospital.
A Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust spokesperson said: 'Our sympathies and thoughts are with the patient’s family at this time.
'Within 30 minutes of the patient last being seen on the ward, a hospital wide search was launched and within the hour the police were informed.
'Patients are free to leave the wards at their will and we have protocols for facilitating patients’ movements to and from the wards.
'We also have a robust procedure for searching for patients if they leave the ward unexpectedly and for reporting if they are missing. All of which were followed in this case.'