MANY families involved in an investigation looking into the deaths of patients had misplaced guilt, the panel’s chairman said.
In his foreword to the Gosport Independent Panel report, Bishop James Jones also found ‘the obfuscation by those in authority has often made the relatives of those who died angry and disillusioned’.
He said relatives, in their quest for truth and accountability, had caused an adverse affect on their lives.
Families have been fighting for nearly 20 years for answers into the deaths of their loved ones at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
After four years of investigating, the £14m panel published its findings.
In his foreword, the Rt Rev Jones said: ‘Over the many years during which the families have sought answers to their legitimate questions and concerns, they have been repeatedly frustrated by senior figures.
‘The families had already been let down so often that they saw no reason why they should trust a panel set up by the government, albeit an independent one.’
He added: ‘They know the frustration and anger has sometimes consumed them. This has no doubt made those in authority less inclined to build a bridge towards them and investigate their concerns thoroughly.
‘But 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 impossible to move on if you feel that you have let down someone you love, and that you might have done more to protect them from the way they died.
‘Many of the families to whom the panel has listened feel a measure of guilt, albeit misplaced.’