Families want answers for painkiller deaths

A major inquiry into potentially hundreds of suspicious deaths at a hospital in Hampshire will publish its findings today.
The panel – which has lasted four years at a cost of more than £13m – has looked into failings at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000.
Retired doctor Jane Barton is at the centre of the investigation, accused of overseeing the administering of deadly doses of painkillers which contributed to the deaths of a number of patients.
She was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in 2010 but was not struck off.
Dozens of families have campaigned for nearly 20 years to get answers and despite a number of inquiries and police investigations no prosecutions have been brought.
The daughter of 91-year-old Gladys Richards raises the alarm to police with concerns about Jane Barton’s prescribing – Gladys died suddenly as she recovered from a hip operation.
Police launch an investigation into the deaths of 92 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
The Crown Prosecution Service decides there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.
General Medical Council finds Dr Barton guilty of “serious professional misconduct” – but she is not struck off and retires soon after.
A report into patient care finds opiate painkillers prescribed at the hospital since 1988 had likely “shortened the lives of some patients”.
The current inquiry looks into several hundred deaths that took place on Dr Barton’s watch.
The 2013 Baker Report found that case-by-case investigations would in some instances conclude that the early resort to opiates “will have shortened lives” – and that a small number of those patients would have had a “good chance” of surviving and being discharged.
Debbie McKay and Cindy Carby’s father, Stanley, was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital in 1999 at the age of 65.

Stanley Carby, who died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, and his wife
He was sent for rehabilitation after suffering a minor stroke, but just 30 hours after arriving he died.
He’d been given high doses of powerful painkillers, which his family say he simply didn’t need.
The sisters describe how Dr Jane Barton told them to “let nature take its course” after their father’s condition severely deteriorated:
“It wasn’t until after (his death), when we had all his notes and we were able to look through his records that on his admission Dr Barton wrote that she was happy for nursing staff to confirm death. My dad was 65, he was in there for rehabilitation – not to die,” Cindy said.
Dozens of other relatives of those who died at the hospital are expected to attend the reviews publication.
Ann Reeves has campaigned tirelessly with her daughter Bridget for justice for 18 years.
Her mother Elsie Devine died in Gosport after being given a large number of opiate drugs despite no record of her being in pain.
She said: “This is not only about my mum. This is everybody, every elderly person who went in to Gosport who had no idea of their fate – and neither did their relatives – and never came home.
“No chance to say goodbye, no care afforded to them and no duty of care afforded to us. How shocking is that?”

Former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones previously led the Hillsborough inquiry
The independent panel is headed by former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones – who also led the Hillsborough inquiry.
Its work has included looking at 833 death certificates signed by Dr Barton.
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, has long supported the case of his constituent Gillian MacKenzie, the daughter of Gladys Richards.

He told Sky News he will fight for any possible prosecutions: “If it is clear from the report that there has been culpable behaviour, that could in any way look to be or construe to be criminal, then I will be raising that issue in parliament and I will be asking for criminal action to be taken against individuals if the report actually says that’s the case.”
Sky News has attempted to contact Dr Jane Barton for comment.

“Credit SkyNews”

News Reporter

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