Families of those affected by deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1987 and 2001 have been told by police that Dr Nat Cary has been brought on board as the leading medical advisor for Operation Magenta.
The operation is investigating the deaths of 456 patients who had their lives shortened by the treatment they received – many of whom died within days of getting a hospital bed – following a report published in 2018, which determined that they were inappropriately prescribed powerful painkillers.
A further 200 were also affected by the treatment, all of which happened under the watch of Dr Jane Barton.
Dr Nat Cary is a prolific pathologist who has taken the lead on a number of high-profile cases, most notably the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by Ian Huntley, as well as the inquest into the death of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington in 2012 and has represented the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
A Home Office-registered pathologist, he is independent of the police, coroners and even the Home Office itself.
Families were informed of the appointment today – and while there is hope that he could help speed proceedings, there is still no end in sight to the investigation.
Gillian Mackenzie’s mother, Gladys Richards, died on August 21, 1998, after being prescribed opioids without appropriate clinical indication.
‘I still wonder just how much longer this is going to take,’ Gillian said.
‘If things carry on at this rate I will likely be dead before we get justice – and Dr Barton will likely be gone too.
‘Perhaps this appointment will help things, but families are getting increasingly frustrated.’
Dr Cary formerly headed up medical expert panel examining records while police took relatives’ statements.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, meetings between families and the police have been put on hold.
Instead, a panel is live-streaming information to people, who have the option to send in questions in advance.
Dr Barton retired in 2010 following allegations of bad practice.