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Anger at fresh delays into hospital deaths

The scandal of deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital continues Credit: ITV Meridian

It's a scandal that has never been fully investigated- the deaths of 92 elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

A review into the deaths - between 1988 and 2000 - found an "almost routine" use of drugs had "almost certainly" shortened the lives of some patients

For their families, it was hoped that an independent review would provide answers and closure.

But there's anger and frustration that they'll now have to wait until Spring 2018.

Elsie Devine with her grand daughter Bridget

Bridget Reeves lost her grandmother Elsie Devine in 1999. She and her family have been campaigning for the truth ever since.

But they say the delays and increased scope of the inquiry may adversely affect their case, and put on hold their fight for justice.

Rachel Hepworth reports:

Independent panel asks for Gosport relatives to come forward

Gosport War Memorial Hospital Credit: ITV

Bishop James Jones, Chair of the Gosport Independent Panel, would like to hear from anyone who is concerned about the treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital from the 1980s through to the early 2000s.

Today marks the start of a campaign to invite anyone who may have concerns to contact the panel in confidence. A series of adverts will appear in the regional press, and posters will be displayed in libraries and other organisations.

The Gosport Independent Panel was set up last year to address historic concerns raised by families over a number of years about the initial care of their relatives in Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the subsequent investigations into their deaths. The Panel is reviewing documentary evidence held by a range of organisations and individuals.

Extra beds open in Hampshire hospital to cope with winter demand

Gosport War Memorial Hospital gears up for winter rush Credit: ITV news

An extra 15 beds will be opened at Gosport War Memorial during this winter, to help maintain good patient care at the busiest time of the year.

The 'step down' beds will be available for people leaving a ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital, who no longer need to be at QA, but who still need extensive support to help them complete their recovery.

Funding for the initiative comes from the £8m investment being made into the NHS in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire this winter, the local element of a national £700m fund to ensure that local health and social services can meet the needs of patients when bad weather and seasonal illnesses are at their peak.

This development comes as another new scheme - the Enhanced Recovery at Home team - gets into its stride. The team, made up of staff from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Hampshire County Council, is working to support people to live independently after a stay in hospital, or to give people the care they need to avoid having to go into hospital in the first place. The team is funded by £900,000 of the winter funding, and can provide a response within two hours for people who need help urgently.

David Chilvers, a Gosport GP and the clinical lead for Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group said: "These new beds will be a huge benefit to patients. Having this extra capacity in Gosport will make it easier for the NHS to move patients out of QA when they are ready to leave, and in turn that will make it easier for QA staff to admit patients from across the area who need their care. It is in absolutely nobody's interest for patients to be stuck in a bed at QA when they no longer need to be there, so we hope this additional capacity will have a positive impact."

Gosport MP welcomes hospital death inquiry

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a Hillsborough-style inquiry into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said: “For the families involved, this has been a long and hard journey.

"I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to addressing their ongoing concerns and finding out what really happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

"I have always called for openness and transparency – the families deserve nothing less.

The inquiry, selected by the families as their preferred course of action, is an important first step in finally bringing closure to this difficult case.”


Campaigner welcomes hospital inquiry

Gillian Mackenzie Credit: ITV Meridian

The family of a victim who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital has welcomed the announcement that there will be an inquiry into their deaths.

Gillian Mackenzie whose mother died at the Gosport hospital describes it as the culmination of sixteen years hard work and campaigning.

She has met with Norman Lamb on numerous occasions in pursuit of her campaign for justice.

She has also been to see the Rt Rev James Jones who will chair the inquiry.

Ms Mackenzie told ITV News Meridian that she wants the inquiry to be "full uncompromising and exhaustive" and wants to see criminal prosecutions follow.

"I have waited sixteen years for this" she says "and I have not got another sixteen yearsleft"

Gosport victim's daughter welcomes inquiry

The family of a victim who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital has welcomed the announcement that there will be an inquiry into their deaths.

Gillian Mackenzie whose mother died at the Gosport hospital describes it as the culmination of sixteen years hard work and campaigning.

She has also paid tribute to Stephen Lloyd MP who has lobbied on her behalf. Gladys Richards died on August 21 1998. She was 91.

Subsequently Gillian Mackenzie became the first concerned relative to contact the police after the death of a patient at the GWMH.

Health department sets up panel into Gosport inquiry

The Department of Health has responded to the publication of death rates at Gosport War Memorial Hospital by setting up a panel.

Norman Lamb has released a statement in reaction to the Baker Report released in August 2013 into the expected death rates of elderly patients at a Gosport hospital.

The deaths happened between 1988 and 2000 and families have continued to raise concerns about the initial care of their relatives.

The statement says:

"In order to try and address their concerns, and having given consideration to a number of alternative options, I am setting up an independent panel to review the documentary evidence held across a range of organisations.

I have asked Bishop James Jones to chair the panel. Having successfully steered the Hillsborough panel, he brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this work. He has begun to work with affected families, and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the views of those most affected by these deaths are taken into account. I have also asked Christine Gifford, a recognised expert in the field of access to information, to work alongside him and the various organisations to ensure maximum possible disclosure of the documentary evidence to the panel.

– Norman Lamb, Minister of State, Department of Health
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