Gosport hospital deaths: Families weep as they learn about extent of drug prescribing that saw ‘lives shortened’

Families speak to the media about deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital
Families speak to the media about deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital
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Families of those who died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital wept after the report was detailed to them, the panel’s Bishop James Jones has said.

Speaking at a press conference at Becket Hall off Portsmouth Cathedral today, the Rt Rev Jones said they had been emotional this morning.

The bishop was asked if the panel had found the motivation behind the ‘institutionalised practice of shortening lives through prescribing and administering opioids without medical justification at the hospital’.

Bishop James Jones said: ‘Questions of motive are beyond the terms of reference for the panel. Those are questions that need to be prosecuted.’

He added there were questions that needed to be put to people involved but it was beyond the panel’s work.

The report published today said at least 456 lives had been shortened due to the prescribing practice.

Flanked by panel members, the bishop added: ‘We found no evidence in the documents that there was any collusion.’

He insisted the panel found an institutional practice and that finding blame was for any ‘future judicial’ process. He said: ‘It’s not for the panel to ascribe criminal or civil liabilities.’

Rt Rev Jones said: ‘The nurses would have known what they were being asked to administer and the nurses would see the effect.

‘As we show in the report, 59 per cent of those who were given diamorphine were dead within two days and 71 per cent of those who were given (other opioids) we were also dead within two days.

‘The doctors, the clinical assistant, the nurses were aware of the effect of the drugs they were administering and that’s why we ascribe it as an institutionalised process.’

Panel member Kate Blackwell QC told the press conference one family member of a patient had told her this morning was the beginning.

‘For her this was the beginning,’ the lawyer said.