Gosport War Memorial Hospital family fights for medical file

FAMILY fighting to see the full medical file of a patient who died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital have said they want the ‘whole truth’.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 11:15 am

Ann Reeves, 74, spoke to The News after requesting that detectives, who are undertaking the fourth criminal probe into 700 deaths at the Bury Road site, release documents relating to her mother Elsie Devine.

Mrs Devine is among the deaths between 1987-2001 that are being examined by police following a 2018 independent report finding a practice of shortening lives at the hospital.

Detectives in a previous police probe released an illegible medical file to Mrs Reeves relating to her 88-year-old mother.

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Ann Reeves, centre, is the daughter of Elsie Devine who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Pictured at Portsmouth Cathedral on June 20 in 2018 when the Gosport Independent Panel report was released. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Mrs Devine died at the Gosport hospital on November 21 in 1999. She had been transferred from Queen Alexandra Hospital on October 21 that year for rehabilitation.

In July this year Mrs Reeves requested the full file from Operation Magenta, but is still waiting after 30 emails between her family and the police.

She said: ‘We thought it was a simple request, we want to read the whole truth what happened to her and thought transparency after all these years would be the least one would expect.

‘We did not expect this appalling approach having spent years of our lives to establish the truth and being forced to live through 14 investigations and now this one.

‘We are then rewarded with this antagonist approach, it is pernicious and after so many years I feel exploited by them all.’

Mrs Reeves signed the formal request to Southern Health to release documents on September 3, two months after discussing with police if they would allow it to be send out.

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Police have agreed the documents can be sent to the family, are compiling it and a Kent police complaints manager told Mrs Reeves it should be ready 28 days after October 22.

Family can access medical records of patients under certain circumstances under the Access to Health Records Act (1990).

Southern Health should provide the documents to the Reeves family when handed them by police.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Jerome, who leads it, said the probe one of the largest and most complex investigations in British history.

He said that every page was assessed before being released to ensure it ‘does not contain any information that could potentially undermine the ongoing criminal inquiry’.

He said: ‘More than one million pages of medical records and other documents have been seized as part of the investigation, with some patient records consisting of many thousands of pages.

‘Whilst we fully understand the desire of some families to receive their loved ones’ medical records, it is unfortunately not always a quick or straightforward process due in part to the sheer quantity of documents involved.

He added: ‘The families of those affected by the deaths at the hospital are at the heart of everything we do, and we remain committed to keeping them regularly updated and to carrying out a full and thorough investigation.’

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