Gosport Hospital Deaths ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Anyone seeing the news today will be aware of this one.

No news / articles ... there's plenty out if any reader wants to know more.

Just a few dates and known facts :



Gosport hospital : more than 450 patients died due to opioid drugs policy

Inquiry says 200 more patients may have had shorter lives due to overprescription of opioids


Concerns were raised as early as 1988. In 1991, a staff meeting was held that was attended by a convenor from the Royal College of Nursing. But the nurses were warned not to take their concerns further. They had, the report said, given the hospital the opportunity to rectify the overprescribing.

“In choosing not to do so, the opportunity was lost, deaths resulted and 22 years later, it became necessary to establish this panel in order to discover the truth of what happened.”

The panel made it clear it thought prosecutions should follow, although it was beyond its remit to say so.



The first complaint from families came in 1998.




In October 2003, a University of Leicester professor handed over a report to the Department of Health that should have rung alarm bells in high places just three years after Harold Shipman was found guilty of 15 murders.



In April 2009, after a long fight, the families managed to get inquests held for 10 patients who died at the hospital. The jury at Portsmouth coroner’s court ruled at the end of four weeks of evidence that Robert Wilson, 74, Elsie Devine, 88, and Geoffrey Packman, 67, were given drugs that were not appropriate for their conditions and that contributed to their deaths. In two more cases, the deaths of Elsie Lavender, 83, and Arthur Cunningham, 79, the drugs were appropriate but also hastened death.

The jury said medication had not played a part in the deaths of five others – Leslie Pittock, 82, Helena Service, 99, Ruby Lake, 84, Enid Spurgin, 92, and Sheila Gregory, 91.

But for the next 10 years, the increasingly distressed families of those who had died suddenly – and, they believed, prematurely – at Gosport in the 1990s were unable to see Baker’s review. Freedom of information requests were denied by government. Many talked of a cover-up. It was finally published in 2013, the year before the inquiry chaired by the bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, got under way.



In 2009, Barton appeared before a disciplinary tribunal of the GMC, the doctors’ regulatory body, where she was heavily censured and conditions placed on her practice.

And yet the panel was impressed by hundreds of testimonials praising Barton as a GP. It did not strike her off – a decision the GMC afterwards said was wrong and would have been appealed against if it had been able to do so at the time (the system has now changed to allow that).

The panel imposed conditions on her practice as a GP. But Barton retired and requested voluntary erasure, which meant she could no longer practice.



Between 1988 and 2000, Barton certified 833 deaths. Twenty years later, the Jones inquiry has determined that 456 patients died and possibly 200 more had their lives shortened because of the Hampshire hospital’s practice of giving life-shortening opioid drugs without medical justification.




The report invited the health secretary, the attorney general, the chief constable of Hampshire police and the relevant investigatory authorities “to recognise the significance of what is revealed about the circumstances of deaths at the hospital and act accordingly”.



MP calls for retired GP accused of being responsible for hundreds of deaths at Gosport hospital to face prosecution.


In an interview with BBC Newsnight Norman Lamb spoke of his anger when department of health officials advised him in 2013 that a public enquiry should not be held after the publication of an official report into the deaths. The report by Professor Richard Baker of Leicester University found that opiate painkillers had "almost certainly shortened the lives of some patients". The Baker report was completed in 2003 but not published until ten years later once all the inquests had been completed.




Dates / inactions ... a whole tombstone of suits and academics ... enough letters after the names for a whole novel ... how many to face criminal charges ... negligence for one ?

Enough from me on this one.

My thoughts are with the victims' families.
Radio Solent covers the area where I live, and goes down as far as Gosport, so I've been aware of this for a very long time. On TV just now they've mentioned Police thinking concerned relatives were just troublemakers. As you all know here, I've been battling to get my son's care sorted for many years. I'm now labelled by part of Social Services as a "serial complainer". I have evidence to show that staff were told to ignore my emails. I wish there was a way of getting relatives voices heard, and listened to, without any need for any formal complaint. Any ideas?

On the other hand, other SSD staff invited me to attend a meeting of about 20 people looking at the redesign of the entire department, top to bottom!
Gosport hospital deaths: families condemn 'scandalous' failings

Families say ‘horrifying, shameful, unforgivable actions need to be disclosed in a criminal court’



Pretty powerful , and understandable reaction ... headline from another article in the Guardian published earlier this afternoon.

For the sake of all the victims' families involved ... and justice where due under law ... I hope the System moves swiftly !

As seen in the Hillsborough " Tragedy " ( In many ways , like Grenfell Tower / Aberfan , a disaster just waiting to happen ) , delaying tactics by some involved do nobody any favours.

This one is in a category all of it's own.
It's murder. Another apology by Hunt.
But will anyone be charged with murder?
Are the pigs flying again?
The timeline ... very relevant ... second version :

August 1998

Ninety one-year-old Gladys Richards dies at Gosport War Memorial Hospital (GWMH) where she was recovering from a hip operation. She had suffered a haematoma - a lump caused by clotted blood - and was given diamorphine administered through a syringe driver.

September 1998

Mrs Richards' daughter Gillian Mckenzie goes to Hampshire police and claims her mother has been prescribed too much morphine. No charges are brought against the hospital.

April 2000

A second police investigation is launched after several families come forward with concerns. No charges are made. The General Medical Council is also made aware of concerns relating to Dr Jane Barton.

October 2001

Police alert Commission for Healthcare Improvement (CHI). They also look into four more deaths and two others are brought to the attention of NHS Ombudsman. But later discontinue their investigation.

June 2002

Mrs Mckenzie asks the GMC formally to investigate Dr Barton and is told there are no grounds for any action.

July 2002

A CHI report criticises the hospital's control in the prescription and use of diamorphine.

September 2002

Police begin a third investigation and the Chief Medical Officer orders an independent audit into the deaths.

September 2006

Police files on 10 deaths are submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

October 2006

Crown Prosecution Service concludes there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any health professionals.

May 2008

Police reports are passed to the Portsmouth coroner, David Horsley. In May, Justice Secretary Jack Straw announces an inquest into the 10 deaths.

April 2009

A jury inquest at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court rules at least five of the elderly patients who died were overprescribed strong painkillers that hastened their deaths. Police do not re-investigate.

January 2010

Dr Jane Barton is found guilty of "serious professional misconduct" by the General Medical Council but is not struck off. She retires soon after. In August, the CPS says there is "insufficient evidence" to prosecute Dr Barton for gross negligence manslaughter. Relatives criticise the ruling.

April 2013

Coroner David Horsley finds painkillers and sedatives given to Gladys Richards at GWMH "more than insignificantly" contributed to her death. He gives a narrative verdict at the end of her inquest.

August 2013

Department of Health (DOH) publishes a clinical audit of care covering the period 1998-2000. The audit concludes that "a practice of almost routine use of opiates before death had been followed in the care of patients." It adds "the practice almost certainly had shortened the lives of some patients."

July 2014

The government announces an inquiry into the deaths of dozens of patients at GWMH to be led by the former Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who led the Hillsborough inquiry.

December 2014

Care minister Norman Lamb says "unanswered questions" remain about the care of the patients who died. Police investigated the deaths of 92 patients but brought no prosecutions.

November 2016

The government says the report's publication has been pushed back "as a consequence of the greater number of families now in contact with the panel".

June 2018

The independent panel report reveals 456 patients died after being given powerful painkillers inappropriately at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.



The Gosport Independent Panel, led by the former bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, found that whistleblowers and families were ignored as they attempted to raise concerns about the administration of medication at the hospital.

It also said, taking into account missing records, a further 200 patients may have suffered a similar fate.



The establishment closed ranks, but the relatives of those who died after they were given dangerous doses of opioids still fought for answers. Their persistence should be saluted.



Gosport hospital scandal: Review an 'emotional milestone' but far from end of fight for justice, say families

On the steps of Portsmouth Cathedral families said those who 'silenced' loved ones with fatal overdoses must now face full rigour of criminal justice system.
BBC headline ... speculation or ... something a lot more sinister ?

Gosport hospital deaths : Drugs scandal " May be happening elsewhere. "



An expert on hospital mortality data has said scandals such as the deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital could be being replicated elsewhere in the NHS.

Prof Sir Brian Jarman told the Today Programme he thinks "it is likely" similar situations are happening in other hospitals.


Sir Brian, who is the head of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, said information on mortality rates was not properly assessed by health officials across the NHS.

He said he had experienced difficulty communicating concerns about mortality rates to the Department of Health.

"There really is a desire not to know," he said, adding that NHS whistleblowers were still being "fired, gagged and blacklisted".

Gosport scandal exposes blame culture in NHS, says Hunt.

Medical staff fear the sack or litigation if they speak out, says health secretary.
Hampshire police are to hand over the investigation into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital to another force, their top officer has said.

The report said the quality of three police investigations into 92 of the deaths had been "consistently poor".

The chief constable apologised for the force's " Part in the distress caused to families for so many years. "

Hampshire Constabulary previously conducted three separate inquiries, but no prosecutions were brought.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: "Having taken time to carefully consider the matter, I have made the decision that Hampshire Constabulary must take a step back.

"I certainly would never want to absolve my force of its responsibilities, but we cannot hide from the fact that the legacy of what has happened has caused considerable damage to confidence in the agencies involved, including my own.

"The force has always acknowledged that the first two police investigations were not of a high quality.

"The report makes clear a view from the panel that the third did not look widely enough. We accept the panel's findings and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for our part in the distress caused to families for so many years."