HEALTH and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement to the House of Commons about the Gosport War Memorial Hospital report findings.
He said: ‘This morning the Gosport independent panel published its report at what happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1987 and 2001.
‘Its findings can only be described as truly shocking.’
‘The panel found that over the period the lives of over 450 patients were shortened by clinically inappropriate use of opioid analgesics with an additional 200 lives also likely to have been shortened if missing medical records are taken into account.
‘The first concerns were raised by brave nurse whistleblowers in 1991 but then systematically ignored.
‘Families first raised concerns in 1998 and they too were ignored.
‘In short there was a catalogue of failings by the local NHS, Hampshire Constabulary, the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the coroners and - a steward of the system - the department of health.’
‘Nothing I say today will lessen the anguish and pain of families who have campaigned for twenty years of justice after the loss of a loved one, but I can at least, on behalf of the Government and the NHS apologise for what happened and what they have been through.
‘Had the establishment listened when junior NHS staff spoke out, had the establishment listened when ordinary families raised concerns instead of treating them as troublemakers many of those deaths would not have happened.
‘I also want to pay tribute to those families for their courage and determination to find the truth.’
‘As Bishops James Jones led the panel says in his introduction what has to be recognised by those who head up our public institutions is how difficult it is for ordinary people to challenge the closing of ranks of those who hold power.
‘It is a lonely place seeking answers that others wish you were not asking.’
The health secretary also vowed to meet with families before the final report is brought to the government in the Autumn.
He also suggested Hampshire Constabulary should choose a different police force to look into the findings of the report.