Gosport hospital scandal: Families hope inquiry into deaths will lead to charges after 20-year struggle for answers

Sean Morrison
Gosport War Memorial Hospital: A long-awaited report into deaths at the hospital is due to be publish: Google

Families of hundreds of people who died at a scandal-hit hospital will hope a report set to be published could end a long wait for the truth.

The Gosport Independent Panel was established to address concerns about deaths of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire between 1988 and 2000.

The inquiry, first launched in 2014, will publish the findings of its investigation on Wednesday.

It has been led by the former bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who previously chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The panel will address continued concerns raised by families about the initial care of their relatives at the hospital and the subsequent investigations into their deaths.

It's investigation is expected to focus on those who died while under the care of the hospital's Department of Medicine for Elderly People.

A separate review into deaths at the hospital, led by Professor Richard Baker, found "almost routine use of opiates" for elderly patients had "almost certainly shortened the lives of some".

It could not be published in full until 2013, 10 years after it was completed, while inquests were held and due to a police investigation.

A campaign by several families led to inquests into 10 deaths at the hospital which found drugs were a contributory factor in some cases.

Sent to Gosport War Memorial Hospital to recover from a hip operation, 91-year-old Gladys Richards later died after being given opiates and sedatives.

Her daughter Gillian McKenzie was the first relative to approach the police about a death at the hospital in 1998.

She told the BBC she hoped there would be a debate in parliament following the report findings and there would be "enough pressure" for criminal proceedings to commence.

"There has to be justice and somebody has to be answerable," she said.

Additional reporting by PA.