A Review and Commentary on the Report of the Gosport Independent Panel
8th July 2020
The Gosport Independent Panel was set up to investigate long-running concerns of a number of families that the lives of their loved ones had been shortened whilst patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. In June 2018 the Panel produced their report (“the Report”). The key medical finding is that there was a culture of shortening lives by prescribing and administering “dangerous doses” of opiate medication not clinically-indicated. Patients were, in effect, put on a terminal care pathway on admission.
In this article Justin Valentine reviews the Report’s findings both in relation to what happened at the hospital and the extent to which the families were let down by all those in authority, not only the hospital but also the police, the coronial system and the relevant regulatory organisations. Twenty years since the events dealt with by the Report there still outstanding police investigations and prosecutions may follow.
The scale of wrongdoing and subsequent inability of official bodies properly to investigate is staggering and Justin Valentine suggests what can be learnt by legal practitioners from the failures highlighted by the Report.