Gosport War Memorial Hospital deaths: Dispirited families frustrated by lack of progress - but happy with Department of Health's exclusion

James Hoare from Gosport. His mother-in-law, Margaret Queree, died at the War Memorial Hospital after being given opioids. Picture: David George
James Hoare from Gosport. His mother-in-law, Margaret Queree, died at the War Memorial Hospital after being given opioids. Picture: David George
Share this article
0
Have your say

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.

Gillian Mackenzie's mother, Gladys Richards, was one of the hundreds who died from opioids at Gosport War Memorial Hospital She said: 'I still have a lot of questions... I just hope I live long enough to see them answered.' Picture: David George

Gillian Mackenzie's mother, Gladys Richards, was one of the hundreds who died from opioids at Gosport War Memorial Hospital She said: 'I still have a lot of questions... I just hope I live long enough to see them answered.' Picture: David George

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.

READ MORE: Health secretary Matt Hancock tells relatives that Gosport hospital deaths patients are 'victims'

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.’

ALSO READ: Former care minister Norman Lamb insists he will 'stick with' patients' relatives 'to the end'

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.’