On Wednesday over 100,000 signatures were handed to Downing Street, calling for criminal charges to be brought in respect of the deaths of over 450 elderly people who died at Gosport Memorial Hospital between 1989 – 2000.
A long overdue independent enquiry, earlier this year found a shocking disregard for human life and a culture of prescribing medicines designed to shorten life.
The investigation mainly centred on the conduct, actions and culture built up by Dr Jane Barton. Dr Jane Barton, a clinical assistant at the Hospital oversaw the practice of prescribing the extremely strong painkillers on the wards. So far only Dr Barton has faced disciplinary proceedings and although she was found guilty of misconduct she wasn’t struck off the medical register and instead retired.
No criminal proceedings have yet been brought against Dr Barton, or indeed the then Chief Executive at the Trust or the Lead Consultant, Dr Anthea Lord.
At the time of the report, Jeremy Hunt, the then Secretary of State for Health, commented the findings were truly shocking and where necessary criminal investigations will be considered by the Police and CPS. To date no criminal charges have been brought.
Last month, a new Police investigation was launched by Kent and Essex Police, whereas, previous enquiries were undertaken by local police force, Hampshire Police Constabulary.
Despite the independent enquiry report, Dr Barton continues to maintain that her actions were appropriate and in the best interests of the patient.
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