MEETINGS held with families about the deaths of 456 people at Gosport War Memorial Hospital will no longer include the Department of Health, it has been confirmed.
At a meeting for families affected by the hundreds of deaths at the hospital in Ferneham Hall, Fareham today, they were told that the government body would no longer be attending.
It comes after a group of individuals wrote to Bishop James Jones, who led the Gosport Independent Panel, asking that the Department of Health was also removed from the police investigation.
Families have welcomed the move as the ‘right decision’.
David Wilson, 73 from Sarisbury Green, is the nephew of Dulcie Middleton, who died at the hospital on September 2, 2001.
He said: ‘Seeing the Department of Health at these meetings has been upsetting for many people, and also very offensive.
‘We wrote to the bishop collectively and made our thoughts very clear – so this is a major step forward.
‘I was pleased that Operation Magenta was able to confirm this for families today.’
But others described the discussions as ‘more of the same’ with concerns that the truth won’t come to light for a very long time.
James Hoare’s mother-in-law, Margaret Queree, died on October 10, 1994.
Mr Hoare, 83 from Gosport, said: ‘I realise the police are doing their best but there’s no indication of when the end of this investigation might be.
‘It’s incredibly frustrating – it feels like every meeting is just more of the same at the moment.
‘We’re not getting any progress at all and I feel like we’re starting from the beginning every time we meet.’
Brian Cunningham died on September 26, 1998, again due to opioids given to him at the hospital.
His step-son, 80-year-old Charles Farthing from Portsmouth, claimed the meetings have become a ‘waste of time.’
‘It’s become much like the Hillsborough Inquiry,’ he said.
‘It took years to get people in court for that and I suppose it’ll be the same here.’