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Probe begins into deaths of older patients at Gosport hospital


An independent investigation has started into concerns about the past care and subsequent deaths of older people at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire

The review was announced in July by care minister Norman Lamb, following years of campaigning by the relatives of people resident at the hospital from the 1980s through to the early 2000s.

“Many families have on-going concerns about the way their relatives were treated and how their complaints have been handled”

James Jones

Last year, the Department of Health published a clinical audit of care carried out back in 2003 by Leicester University academic Professor Richard Baker, which covered the period 1988-2000.

The report concluded that “a practice of almost routine use of opiates before death” had been followed in the care of patients at Gosport hospital.

However, the families say unanswered questions remain about the historic care of their relatives, the circumstances surrounding their treatment and death, and the slow progress of previous investigations into events at the hospital.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Gosport War Memorial Hospital

The terms of reference for the new investigation and some of the panel members who will lead the Gosport Independent Panel have been confirmed and published in parliament today.

Bishop James Jones, who previously chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, will chair the investigation, as previously announced in July.

Four additional members of the panel have now been appointed.

Gosport War Memorial Hospital

James Jones

They are geriatric medicine specialist Dr Colin Currie, investigative journalist David Hencke, former Scotland Yard commander Duncan Jarrett, and pathology and medical records expert Dr Bill Kirkup – currently also leading an investigation into maternity deaths at University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay Foundation Trust.

Announcing the start of the investigation, the Department of Health said Bishop Jones had “worked hard” to ensure the views of the affected families have been reflected in the terms of reference.

The panel is now calling on anyone who wishes to raise any concerns about their treatment, or that of their relatives, at Gosport during this period, to contact them.

The DH added that the government had committed to maximum public disclosure of documentation relating to the events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Bishop Jones said: “Many families have on-going concerns about the way their relatives were treated and how their complaints have been handled.

Liberal Democrats

Norman Lamb

“I want to help provide clarity and understanding for the families,” he said. “By working with them to set and deliver the terms of reference with a panel of experts from different fields, I believe I can achieve this.

“Independence and integrity will be the hallmarks of the panel’s work,” he added.

Mr Lamb said: “The events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital have caused immense distress to the families of the patients who died. I have confidence that this independent panel will help answer the many questions they have.”

Gosport War Memorial Hospital is currently run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. It has a 20-bed GP ward and 32 beds for older people’s mental health.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Gosport War Memorial Hospital


Readers' comments (3)

  • I reported the same thing at Southampton in 1992/93 I went through hell. False allegations were made against me. I was victimised, isolated, my shifts were changed, I was on nights and would be phoned mid morning, even on holiday I was phoned for stupid things, asked to go to non existing meetings-or asked why I didnt attend meetings I knew nothing about. I was demoted, told I was mentally ill.
    I was given a 'medical retirement' with my NHS pension with 10 years enhanced to keep quiet. Ive been collecting my pension 21 years now and have just retired from nursing NHS & private.
    After I left the manager was made to retire, 1 mgr was demoted and moved and the professional development Sr who asked "Do you know the cost of caring for these people" if they survive? She went to be manager of a care home so she found out

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  • Recent research shows that we make fast decisions based on our personality traits then follow it up with rationalisation.

    I am trying to comprehend how it is that the managers in health authorities fail to encompass the whole picture. It is cheaper to keep people independent for as long as possible, yet some idiot authorities see to it that homes do truly daft things like removing zimmers. True this means that when the service users then become immobilised, they are no longer classed as "high fall risk" for Continuing Healthcare funding but, duh, it also means that 2 carers are needed instead of one for care interventions. Withholding nurse funding then results in avoidable deterioration followed by the criteria for CHC then being met. Of course, corrupt assessments then fail to award it and the whole situation is inhumane for service users, staff and friends and relatives.

    More research shows that diversity enhances performance.The health authority that is, i allege, advancing the death of my relative in an abusive and negligent manner, has one female on the executive committee, the rest are men and mostly doctors. Is there anyone on that committee I wonder who has any idea how to organise evasion of health problems for residential service users or are they all cavalry to the rescue types dominated by linear thinking?
    We really do news some changes made and fast.

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  • Where are the pPublic's protectors at "safeguarding" all this time I wonder why is there one set of rules for the Private Sector and another for the Public Sector. Thank goodness that the CQC has now got some teeth at last, now we are starting to see some action. It just show what self regulation of the Public Sector has lead to the spot light is now clearly showing where the real problems lie

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