Caroline Dinenage MP has welcomed the news that the care provided to patients who died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Hampshire, between 1987 and 2001 will be the focus of a full police investigation.
Since September 2018 a dedicated team of staff led by Assistant Chief Constable Nick Downing, representing the Eastern Policing Region, have been assessing the Gosport Independent Panel's findings, that concluded that there was evidence to suggest hundreds of deaths were linked to the use of opiates prescribed by medical staff without the appropriate justification.
They today announced that they would be undertaking a full police investigation into over 200 cases to establish whether any criminal charges will be pursued. The work will commence on May 1st and is expected to take at least 9 months.
At a meeting on Tuesday 30 April 2019, ACC Downing provided an update to the relatives of those who died. He said:
'The families of those affected by the events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital are at the heart of everything we do, and I hope the news that we will now be carrying out a full investigation is of some comfort to them. This investigation is not about numbers, it is about people – specifically those who died at the hospital and the loved ones they have left behind.
'There have been three previous police investigations into deaths at the hospital. It was therefore important for us to carry out an initial assessment of the materials obtained by the Gosport Independent Panel to establish if it contained sufficient new information that has not already been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.
'Now that we have launched a full investigation we will be arranging to meet with the families on a one-to-one basis and invite them to give statements on their own experiences with the hospital, as it is their accounts about the loss of their loved ones that will help put the medical assessments we have into context. This is a highly complex and emotive case that some family members have been living with for more than 30 years, and I would like to thank them for their continuing patience and understanding during this process.'
'My role throughout has been to support the families involved to get access to the truth. The Independent Panel Report last June uncovered deeply concerning evidence and I agree with conclusion of the Assistant Chief Constable and his team that this supports a full police investigation.
'This is a complex and emotive case, I know that some families would prefer a much faster conclusion. I also have many constituents who've worked at the War Memorial Hospital past and present, with great professionalism and integrity. That's why it's important that the investigation is done with the utmost care and thoroughness.'