A Serco officer has been suspended and an investigation is under way after a prisoner was found alone and unguarded at Royal Perth Hospital.
Hospital staff raised the alarm on Sunday night after discovering two Serco officers who were meant to be guarding the prisoner had left him unattended.
_The West Australian _understands they went looking for the guards after finding the prisoner, who was restrained, alone.
It is believed that when they found one of the officers, they were told that because one guard had gone to the toilet, the prisoner had been left alone because the remaining guard did not want to be alone with him.
Unhappy with the situation, the hospital staff then called prison management to complain.
Serco, the private firm that runs WA's prisoner transport services, said yesterday that one of the guards had been suspended pending the investigation.
A spokesman said it was the company's "clear expectation" that officers should be in the room with the prisoner when doing a "hospital sit", unless they were directed otherwise by medical staff and then that had to be reported to their control centre.
The Department of Corrective Services said it was reviewing the incident to assess possible breaches of contract by Serco.
"Prisoners are required to be in view of officers at all times whilst under hospital guard and as such the matter is under review by the department," a spokesman said.
Serco said it sent a senior manager to the hospital immediately after the incident to make sure the correct procedure was being followed and to meet hospital staff.