Independent Panel finds that more than 450 patients died as a result of dangerous and inappropriate prescribing practices at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

Wednesday 20 June 2018

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The Gosport Independent Panel, which reported today, was established to look at the initial care of patients who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the subsequent investigation of their deaths. It is modelled on the Hillsborough Independent Panel and like that Panel, it is chaired by The Right Reverend John James, the former Bishop of Liverpool. The Panel not only investigated the concerns of families that their loved ones had died due to inappropriate care, it also created an archive of the documents it relied upon.

The Panel found that more than 450 patients died and possibly 200 more had their lives shortened as a result of the prescribing practices at Gosport. The doctor in charge of these prescriptions was Dr Jane Barton. The CPS sought the advice of David Perry QC as to whether any offence had been committed and was advised that it had not. The General Medical Council censured Barton in 2009 and has since admitted that she should have been struck off.

In 2013 James Mehigan of Garden Court Chambers’ Inquests Team represented the daughter of Gladys Richards at the inquest before the Portsmouth Coroner. James was instructed by John White of Blake Lapthorn. The Coroner, sitting without a jury, found that among other factors which contributed to her death was ‘medication administered to her at Gosport War Memorial Hospital for the control of her pain and agitation’ [Report pp249-250]. It was always the contention of the family that this was part of a broader practice at the hospital and particularly on the part of Dr Barton. Today’s report, some 27 years after the first deaths, vindicates that position.

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