New inquests opened into deaths of 4 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

  • Video by ITV Meridian reporter Andrew Pate

New inquests have opened into the deaths of four elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, more than two decades after they died. 

The hospital is also the subject of an ongoing Police investigation.

An earlier inquiry found 456 patients died after being given pain relieving drugs at the hospital between 1987 and 2001, but no charges have ever been brought.

The deaths of Dulcie Middleton, Horace Smith, Eva Page and Clifford Houghton will be examined after families claimed earlier investigations have left them without closure or justice.

The coroner adjourned the inquests until a Police investigation has concluded.

  • Clifford Houghton, 71, was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital in February. He died on the same day he was given two doses of diamorphine because of “deterioration”.

  • Dulcie Middleton, 86, died three months after she was admitted to Gosport hospital for rehabilitation following a stroke.

  • Eva Page, 88, died in 1998. It was concluded in the Report that Mrs Page’s case was a case of opioid usage without appropriate clinical indication.

  • Horace Smith, 73, was prescribed diamorphine upon admission to Gosport War Memorial Hospital. It is noted Mr Smith’s improving health deteriorated rapidly.

Law firm Leigh Day has also written to the Attorney General to ask for a fresh inquests into the deaths of Arthur Denis Brian Cunningham who died aged 79, five days after he was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital on 21 August 1998 and Gladys Mabel Richards admitted on 17 August 1998 where she remained until she died on 21 August 1998.

The families, represented by Leigh Day, are hoping that the inquests will be joined together into one 'Hillsborough-style' inquest.

The police are also looking into the deaths, with Operation Magenta commencing two years ago.

Officers are currently examining over seven hundred patient records.

Read more about Gosport War Memorial Hospital