GOSPORT, South East coast, England —
The hospital deaths scandal continues…
A new criminal investigation is to take place into the deaths of hundreds of patients who were given “dangerous” levels of painkillers at a hospital.
An inquiry found 456 patients died after being given opiate drugs at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1987 and 2001.
A review has since been carried out by Kent and Essex Police to assess if there was “sufficient new evidence”.
Relatives have been told a “full investigation” will begin.
Three previous investigations into 92 of the deaths by Hampshire Constabulary resulted in no charges being brought.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Downing, head of serious crime at Kent and Essex Police, met relatives at a meeting in Fareham.
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, he promised a “thorough and independent” investigation with a range of offences, including murder, to be considered.
He said police would not be interviewing hospital staff but meeting families individually to collect statements on their relatives’ experiences of the hospital.
The Gosport Independent Review Panel report, published in June 2018, found there was a “disregard for human life” at the hospital.
It also found an “institutionalised regime” of prescribing and administering amounts of opiate medication that were not clinically justified.
The report said the quality of previous police investigations had been “consistently poor”.
It found whistleblowers and families were ignored as they attempted to raise concerns about the administration of medication on the wards, which was overseen by Dr Jane Barton.
Dr Barton retired after being found guilty by a medical panel of failings in her care of 12 patients at Gosport between 1996 and 1999.
In a statement last year, Dr Barton said she was a “hard-working doctor” who was “doing her best” for patients in a “very inadequately resourced” part of the NHS.
MEAG COMMENT: But doctor found enough resources to bump patients off.
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Dr Jane Barton has questions to answer