Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gosport hospital death investigation costs to rise to £13m

(clockwise from top left) - Robert Wilson, Geoffrey Packman, Arthur (Brian) Cunningham, Sheila Gregory, Enid Spurgin, Ruby Lake and Elsie Devine Image copyright BBC/PA
Image caption Inquests into the deaths of 10 patients, seven of whom are pictured, were held in 2009

The inquiry into the deaths of dozens of elderly patients at a Hampshire hospital will cost more than £13m, the Department of Health has revealed.

Additional funding of £5m has been allocated to the budget of the Gosport Independent Panel for 2017/18 after the timescale of the inquiry was extended.

Relatives had called for a public inquiry which they believe would have been quicker and cheaper.

Launched in 2014, the investigation was originally due to end in December 2017.

A review of the deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000 found an "almost routine use of opiates had almost certainly" shortened the lives of some patients.

Police investigated the deaths of 92 people but brought no prosecutions.

The end date of the review was pushed back in November 2016 with the work likely to end in spring 2018, the government previously said.

The Gosport Independent Panel is headed by the former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, who led the Hillsborough inquiry.

Bridget Reeves, whose grandmother Elsie Devine died at the hospital, is among the relatives who criticised the decision for an independent panel.

She said: "The frustration is that when we started we wanted a public inquiry but we were told very clearly that the cost would be far too great."

Department of Health allocated budgets to the Gosport Independent Panel:

  • 2014/15: £918,900
  • 2015/16: £2,644,560
  • 2016/2017 £4.5m
  • 2017/2018 £5.008m

The Department of Health said: "Budgets may be reviewed by the new government following the election on 8 June."

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