Son finds report into Gosport War Memorial Hospital deaths ‘damning’

Gosport War Memorial Hospital
Gosport War Memorial Hospital
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A MAN whose father died in a Gosport hospital after he went in for respite, has called a report into deaths at the facility ‘damning’.

Ian Wilson, 53, of Beryton Road, Gosport, has been one of many families waiting for the Baker report to be published.

It looked into 81 deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital (GWMH) during the 90s, after concerns were raised about patient care under Dr Jane Barton.

And after a 10-year wait, the Department of Health published the report yesterday.

It revealed an over-prescription, and in some cases use, of opiates, and note-taking had been poor.

Mr Wilson’s father Robert, 74, had been to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, for a shoulder injury.

He was transferred to GWMH, to wait to be put into a nursing home.

But he died in October 1998, and the cause of death was put down to bronchopneumonia.

Mr Wilson said: ‘I can see why the report has been kept back for so long.

‘It shows a consistent over-prescription of opiates to an inappropriately wide group of patients.

‘A high proportion of deaths were because of bronchopneumonia, that is a side affect of diamorphine, and that was my dad.

‘He was in for respite, they were trying to find a nursing home for him. He wasn’t on any painkillers at QA.

‘This is a damning report and I can see why they kept it from us.

‘I’m glad it has come out now, it’s taken a long time, but gives us more of an angle.’

Richard Baker, a professor of clinical governance, who worked on the Harold Shipman inquiry, started his review in 2002.

The government would not publish the report until the final inquest into deaths from that period took place.

The report found the use of opiates ‘almost certainly shortened the lives of some patients, and it cannot be ruled out a small number of these would otherwise have been eventually discharged from hospital alive.’

It said opiates were often prescribed before needed.

Dr Barton had a higher percentage of patients whose cause of death was put down to bronchopneumonia, and prescribed a higher number of opiates before a patient’s death.

It also found there ‘were no clear clusters of deaths’, but the ‘proportion of patients at Gosport who did receive opiates before death is remarkably high’.

Gosport MP says report makes ‘sobering reading’

FOR the past three years, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has been asking for the results of the Baker report to be published.

The report, which was revealed yesterday, looks into the deaths of 81 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital (GWMH), from the 90s.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘It’s sobering reading. I’m pleased we can finally look at the reports, and the families that have been waiting 10 years can look at it.

‘It makes troubling statements about the anticipatory prescription of medicine, and of inadequate note-making.

‘But the comfort we can take is changes have been made at GWMH.’

Why it’s taken 10 years for report to come out

THE government called for a review in to the deaths of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Dr Jane Barton, who used to practise at the Forton Medical Centre in Gosport, was also a clinical assistant in the former Dryad and Daedalus wards at the hospital in Bury Road.

Between 1996 and 1999, 12 patients died in her care, instead of recovering.

Gladys Richards, 91, was one of the patients who died in Dr Barton’s care, and her daughter Gillian Mackenzie approached police with concerns, which prompted an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary.

In 2002, Richard Baker, a professor of clinical governance, who worked on the Harold Shipman inquiry, was appointed to look into 81 deaths at the hospital.

The government said the report would not be published until inquests in to all of the deaths had taken place.

In April 2009, an inquest was held in Portsmouth into the deaths of five patients under the care of Dr Barton.

A jury ruled drugs prescribed by the GP contributed to the deaths their deaths.

Following the inquest, the General Medical Council (GMC) held a hearing into Dr Barton’s fitness to practise.

She was found guilty of ‘multiple instances of serious professional misconduct’ relating to 12 patients who died at the hospital, but was not struck off.

In 2011, Dr Barton, applied to the GMC to have her name removed from the register.

The inquest of Mrs Richards took place in April, and yesterday the Department of Health released the report.