FAMILIES of patients who died at a Gosport hospital after being given dangerous painkillers without justification have branded as ‘pathetic’ a doctor’s statement she ‘did her best’.
In a statement read by her husband outside her home Dr Jane Barton, 69, toda said she ‘was a hard working doctor’.
Speaking in Alverstoke, Tim Barton said: ‘Jane would like to thank her family, friends, colleagues, former patients and the many others for their continued support and loyalty through this protracted inquiry.
‘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.’
He asked for privacy and directed any further questions to the Medical Defence Union, whose lawyer Ian Barker represented Dr Barton during repeated police interviews.
Dr Barton stood next to her husband in silence as he read the statement before then returning inside.
But Eric Cousins, 70, of Highlands Road, Fareham, whose 82-year-old dad Arthur died in the hospital in 2000, said he was speechless over Dr Barton’s ‘absolutely shocking’ comments.
‘It’s very pathetic. It’s an absolutely shocking reply – I’m speechless,’ he said.
‘I don’t agree with that, I think that’s spineless and inadequate.
‘That’s really saying “I did the best I could but they all had to die”. I can’t accept that, it’s pathetic.
‘It’s absolutely disgusting that she could come out with just that, it seems cold and callous.’
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 was interviewed by police repeatedly over the deaths but never charged.
The retired GP was found guilty of misconduct by the General Medical Council but not struck off until she requested it.
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. The evidence is there and now we need action.’
Ann, 72, 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.’
The panel found that the case of Dr Harold Shipman, who was jailed for murdering patients, ‘cast a shadow over how concerns at the hospital were viewed’.
Hampshire police has apologised and admitted its first two investigations were not good enough, adding the panel found the third was not wide enough.
Officers are preparing to hand over to another force for any further investigation.