Gosport report and Government response not enough – people should be held to account

Published: 20 Jun 2018

AvMA welcomes today’s report on the Gosport War Memorial Hospital scandal. It entirely vindicates the families who had been raising serious concerns and seeking answers for 20 years.

However, AvMA Chief Executive Peter Walsh says that the Government’s response falls short of what is needed to satisfy the families and the public and warns that some issues from Gosport remain relevant today.

Mr Walsh said:

“The families who tried so hard to raise concerns about their loved ones’ treatment and have campaigned so long for answers have finally been completely vindicated and received an apology. However, neither they nor the public are likely to be satisfied unless those responsible for ignoring them and keeping the lid on this scandal for so long are held to account.

“I am not talking about individual doctors or nurses, but people who were in positions of authority. Some of them will still be in positions of authority today. Scrutiny of this should go to the very top, to ministers of different political parties who oversaw this.

“No one should kid themselves that this scandal no longer has relevance today. There are many common features between this and more recent scandals such as Mid Staffordshire, Morecombe Bay and Southern Health.

“Families were ignored and there was a defensive response and failures to act in patients’ interests. We still get cases today where families are not consulted about the treatment of elderly, frail patients, and problems with inappropriate use and doses of powerful drugs. Community settings such as nursing homes are a particular concern.”

AvMA provided evidence to the Independent Panel and are mentioned several times in the report. The charity helped some of the families get legal representation at inquests, sought release of vital information such as the Baker report, and called for a public inquiry as long ago as 2008.