Dr Jane Barton prescribed “potentially hazardous” levels of the powerful painkiller diamorphine to elderly patients while working at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
Some of the medical records of patients who had died as a result, ‘suggested a conservative rather than active attitude towards clinical management’, according to a 2003 review of deaths at the Hospital.
The Gosport Independent Panel was set up in 2014 to look into the deaths. Bishop James Jones who led the panel said there was ‘institutionalised practice of shortening lives through prescribing and administering opioids without medical justification at the hospital’. The report said ‘a story of missed opportunities and unheeded warnings’ can be seen from documents.
456 patients’ deaths were connected to being prescribed opioids. Bishop Jones said ‘At least another 200 patients lives were shortened as a direct result of the pattern of prescribing and administering opioids that had become the norm at the hospital’.
The Bishop added ‘The panel now calls upon the secretary of state for health and social care, the home secretary, attorney general and the chief constable of Hampshire police and the relevant investigative authorities to recognise the significance of what is revealed about the circumstances of deaths at the hospital and to act accordingly.’
Amrit Dhaliwal of Medical Accident Group has said ‘Nothing will be able to compensate the friends and families of those who lost their lives, but it is hoped that justice will be served on all those concerned in order to allow them to have some form of closure to these awful events.’
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