Gosport hospital deaths: Families hope '˜nauseating' delay in fight for justice over deaths could almost be over

Ann Reeves' mother Elsie DevineAnn Reeves' mother Elsie Devine
Ann Reeves' mother Elsie Devine
IT HAS been a long agonising wait for families, but next week the findings from an independent inquiry into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital will be made public.

Loved ones of people who died at the hospital between 1988 and 2000 have described the wait as ‘nauseating’ and hope they will at least see justice.

Ann Reeves, whose mother Elsie’s death formed part of the inquiry, said when the report is published people would finally realise the ‘enormity’ of the fight families have had to make.

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Led by Bishop James Jones, the Gosport Independent Panel will reveal the background into deaths at the Bury Road hospital.

Ann ReevesAnn Reeves
Ann Reeves

The publication of the report will be a landmark day for the families who have been calling for an investigation for decades.

On Wednesday, June 20, they will have the chance to read the panel’s findings and get the answers they have been waiting for. Then, later that day, the report will be made public.

Ms Reeves said: ‘On Wednesday people will realise the enormity of a few who have continued these challenges to all.

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‘Justice will be served for all the mums and dads who died at Gosport. It is catastrophic, that is all I can say at this point.

Gosport War Memorial HospitalGosport War Memorial Hospital
Gosport War Memorial Hospital

‘This has been the most nauseating 18 years of my life and we are repulsed at all those who are involved.

‘I don’t know where the years have gone.

‘Eighteen years pushing us to the extreme, with hundreds of letters written for answers - and every single time common purpose is applied.’

As reported in The News, the Hillsborough-style inquiry was announced by then health minister Norman Lamb in 2014 and has taken four years to complete.

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Initially expected to be finished last December, the report was delayed due to the number of families who got in touch to have the deaths of their loved ones looked into.

Among the panel members are geriatric medicine specialist Dr Colin Currie, investigative journalist David Hencke, barrister Kate Blackwell QC and former Scotland Yard Commander Duncan Jarrett.

Speaking at the time he was named as chairman of the Gosport Independent Panel, Bishop Jones said: ‘I want to reassure people we are here to listen.

‘Accountability is an essential part of justice.

‘Families have felt there was something wrong with the way their loved ones died.

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‘Similar to Hillsborough, we have found many families felt they have not been listened to and trust was an issue.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has been involved with the campaign since she was elected in 2010, although will not be attending the hearing in Portsmouth.

It comes after she was denied permission to be absent from parliament.

She told The News she asked for leave but it was rejected.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘As an MP we have to apply to the whips office for permission to leave parliament and be absent for votes.

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‘I requested leave so I could attend the panel but it was rejected.’

When she became health minister, Ms Dinenage signed a document recusing herself from any ministerial involvement in the Gosport Independent Panel.

She said she made the decision after wanting to be able to represent her constituency in this matter.

Speaking about the panel findings, Ms Dinenage said: ‘In my role as an MP I wanted to help get answers for these families.

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‘We know a lot of people who worked in that hospital did a diligent and caring job and, for me, this was never about taking sides.

‘It was about obtaining the facts.

‘The publication of the report has been such a long-time coming.

‘Families have been having to endure the worry and upset of unanswered questions around the deaths of their loved ones for so many years.

‘Although it will be very difficult for many of them to read the outcomes, equally people will welcome a sense of getting to the answers they have looking for.’

The News will have extensive coverage of the Gosport Independent Panel’s findings from 11.30am on Wednesday.