The doctor at the centre of a probe into at least 456 patients who had their lives cut short at Gosport War Memorial Hospital has issued a statement saying she did the ‘best for her patients’.
In a statement read out by her husband on her behalf, Dr Barton said: ‘She has always maintained that she was a hard working doctor doing the best for her patients in a very inadequately-resourced part of the health service.’
Mr Barton reading the statement, broadcast on Sky News, said there had been a ‘protracted inquiry.’
He added: ‘We ask that our privacy is respected at this difficult time and she will be making no further comments.’
Last week the Gosport Independent Panel found at least 456 patients had their lives shortened through the use of opioids without justification between 1989 and 2000.
Dr Barton was a clinical assistant at the hospital during that period.
She stood next to her husband Tim in silence as he read the statement outside her home in Alverstoke, before she then returned inside.
Ann Reeves, whose 88-year-old mother Elsie Devine’s death in 1999 formed part of the panel investigation, said: ‘She’s obviously taken advice.
‘She can’t show her face – the evidence is there and now we need action.’
Ann added: ‘I’ve never been given the privilege to have a face to face meeting with Dr Barton.’
She said: ‘If she would like to do so now I’d be grateful.’
Gillian Kimbley’s husband Robert Wilson, 75, died in 1998 at the hospital.
Gillian, 72, of Sarisbury Green, said: ‘I suppose she’s too frightened to speak to the media.
‘I don’t think she’s got the guts to say anything.’
Another 200 patients probably had their lives shortened but missing medical records meant this could not be said definitively, the report said.
As reported, after analysing thousands of documents the panel found that at the hospital between 1989 and 2000 there was:
• A disregard for human life and a culture of shortening the lives of patients.
• An institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering ‘dangerous doses’ of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified.
• Authorities including senior hospital management, healthcare bodies, the Crown Prosecution Service, Hampshire police, General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) all ‘failed’ the families.
• Despite missing medical records the £14m panel said another 200 people, on top of the 456 patients, ‘probably’ died as a result of the unjustified use of opioids.