Between 1987 – 2001 over 450 patients died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital due to the dangerous overdosed prescription of pain relieving medication. The only person to face disciplinary action has been Dr Jane Barton who was found guilty of failings in her care of 12 patients at Gosport between 1996 and 1999, however no prosecutions were brought and she was not struck off the medical register. She retired after the findings. During this period concerns were raised by staff at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, however they were prevented from further raising awareness of the problem.

In June 2018 an independent inquiry addressed the scandal and found that 456 lives were shortened unnecessarily. The current Health Secretary Mr Hancock confirmed on behalf of the government: "I reiterate a profound and unambiguous apology for the hurt and anguish of the families."

Following the inquiry Matt Hancock confirmed that moving forward efforts would be made to "strengthen protection" for staff whistleblowers, and that there had been a "systematic failure to respond to terrible behaviour". He has called for "tough new measures to ensure that lessons are learnt from the serious failings".

New plans are now to be introduced in every NHS Trust in England in that they will now have to report annually on how concerns raised by patients and staff have been dealt with. In addition, medical examiners are to be introduced to scrutinise the deaths which would not be dealt with the local coroner.

The Health Secretary has also confirmed that there will be a review of the controlled drugs regime with the intention of identifying inappropriate prescribing of opiates. 

Mr Hancock has confirmed "The reforms we plan to make will mean greater transparency, stricter control of drugs, and a full and thorough investigation of every hospital death…Taken together, it means the warning signs about untypical patterns of death are more likely to be seen at the time and not 25 years later."

In 2015, plans were introduced for appointed guardians to support staff who wanted raise concerns about patient safety. Gagging clauses within NHS contracts have been deemed unacceptable in the NHS since 2013 by the Government and Mr Hancock remains committed to ensuring they are “stamped out”. The earlier health secretary Jeremy Hunt also previously brought in a nationwide pilot Whistleblowers Support Scheme in 2017 following the inquiry into deaths at Stafford Hospital.

Karen Reynolds, partner of our Derby and Stoke on Trent offices is leading investigations on behalf of over 60 patients who suffered negligent treatment by former consultant maxillofacial surgeon, Roger Bainton. Mr Bainton carried out a number of unnecessary operations and experimental procedures whilst practicing at the Royal Stoke University Hospital between 2005 and 2013 and concerns were raised about his practices by members of staff for a prolonged period before he was suspended in 2013. He was subsequently dismissed before being erased from the medical register by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal.

Freeths solicitors have considerable experience with Clinical Negligence claims. Our expert solicitors can help you if you believe you or a loved one has experienced negligent medical treatment which has caused an injury. Our specialist team will be able to help you claim financial compensation for the injuries and losses that would otherwise have been avoided.

If you are concerned about care which you or a loved one have received, please contact a member of our national team for a free, informal discussion;

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham/ Birmingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent) on 0845 274 6830 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk 

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/

For further information about this story please see the BBC health pages report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-46291762