Police launch fourth investigation into Gosport deaths

Hospital corridor

The police have launched a fourth investigation into the 450 deaths that occurred at Gosport Memorial Hospital over nearly 15 years.

The investigation comes after the Gosport Independent Panel concluded in a report published in June 2018 that there was evidence to suggest hundreds of deaths between 1987 and 2001 were linked with opiates that had been inappropriately prescribed by medical staff.

The panel’s report also found there was no evidence that pharmacists had questioned prescribing practices at the hospital.

In September 2018, the Eastern Policing Region, which includes forces in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Kent and Suffolk, formed a dedicated team to assess whether the report presented enough new evidence to support a further police investigation.

Announcing the result of that assessment, assistant chief constable Nick Downing, head of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who led the Eastern Policing Region team, said: “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.”

Downing said the police will now 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”.

The deaths were previously investigated by the Hampshire Constabulary.

In guidance for pharmacists issued in light of the Gosport scandal, published in February 2019, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK noted that the pharmacy profession has “moved on significantly” since the tragedy took place.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2019, Vol 302, No 7925;302(7925):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206491

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