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Inquiry into 100 deaths at Gosport hospital comes after families ‘continued to raise concerns’

Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire

 

HEALTH minister Norman Lamb has said the inquiry into the deaths of 100 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital was launched after families continued to raise concerns.

A ministerial statement has been released following the news that an inquiry similar to the one launched to investigate the Hillsborough tragedy will be set up to look into the deaths at the hospital.

The inquiry will be led by the Right Rev James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool, and will look into deaths as far back as 1991.

In the statement Mr Lamb said: ‘Following the publication of the Baker Report in August 2013 into higher than expected death rates of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000, families have continued to raise concerns about the initial care of their relatives and the subsequent investigations into their deaths.

‘In order to try and address their concerns, and having given consideration to a number of alternative options, I am setting up an independent panel to review the documentary evidence held across a range of organisations.’

Dozens of patients are said to have been given ‘life-shortening’ painkillers at the hospital.

A report into the practise, chaired by Professor Richard Baker, found morphine and other powerful drugs were routinely prescribed to elderly patients in Gosport between 1988 and 2000, even if they were not in pain.

Last year, the report was finally published after the final inquest was heard.

Norman Lamb’s ministerial statement

‘Following the publication of the Baker Report in August 2013 into higher than expected death rates of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000, families have continued to raise concerns about the initial care of their relatives and the subsequent investigations into their deaths.

In order to try and address their concerns, and having given consideration to a number of alternative options, I am setting up an independent panel to review the documentary evidence held across a range of organisations.

I have asked Bishop James Jones to chair the panel. Having successfully steered the Hillsborough panel, he brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this work. He has begun to work with affected families, and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the views of those most affected by these deaths are taken into account.

I have also asked Christine Gifford, a recognised expert in the field of access to information, to work alongside him and the various organisations to ensure maximum possible disclosure of the documentary evidence to the panel.

I will further announce the details of the other panel members and agreed terms of reference in the autumn.’

Inquiry ‘very welcome and long overdue’, says Gosport county councillor

COUNCILLOR Peter Chegwyn, who represents Gosport Hardway at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘It is very welcome and long overdue.

‘The relatives have fought for this for a long time.

‘There are so many questions that have been left unanswered. It is time to get to the bottom of what happened for the sake of the relatives of those who died.

‘It should have happened long ago.’

 

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