Inquiry Launched Into Gosport War Memorial Hospital

Investigations To Focus On Hospital’s Use Of Opiates

10.07.2014

An inquiry will be held into the suspicious deaths of up to 100 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire, the Government has announced.

It follows a report published last year, 10 years after it was completed, that revealed "almost routine use of opiates" had "almost certainly" shortened the lives of some patients between 1988 and 2000.

The 2013 report, led by Prof Richard Baker of Leicester University, could not be published earlier because of police investigations into the deaths of 92 patients and inquests taking place. No criminal prosecutions were ever brought.

The document said it could not be ruled out that, without the use of morphine and diamorphine, a small number of the patients who died, could have been discharged from hospital alive.

The latest inquiry, which was announced by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb today, will be led by the former Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who has already begun work with the affected families.

Mr Jones previously chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

In a written ministerial statement, Mr Lamb said families had continued to raise concerns about the care of the relatives and the subsequent investigations into the deaths.

He said the independent panel would address those concerns and that the terms of reference for the review, which is expected to take two years, will be published in the autumn.

Mr Lamb said: "The events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital have caused immense distress to the families of the patients who died.

"I was deeply concerned by the findings of the Baker report, and I am confident that the appointment of Bishop James Jones to chair this independent process will help answer the many questions of the families affected by these shocking events."