05:47 GMT +313 November 2018
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    Cock-Up or Cover-Up? 800 Deaths in English Hospital Linked to Heavy Opiates

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    A UK politician has suggested there might have been a conspiracy to prevent an inquiry into a hospital in England, where heavy sedatives were reportedly prescribed to older patients to keep them quiet and eventually led to their deaths.

    The Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, said in a televised interview that when he was the Health Minister, he pushed for a public inquiry into the suspicious deaths of more than 800 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. He added that government officials tried to hush up the inquiry by rejecting it, while he was away on holiday. He then reportedly intervened and pressed for the probe to be launched.

    Norman Lamb MP said that he "sensed that there might have been a conspiracy to cover this up" and that to this day he doesn't know whether it was "cock-up or cover-up."

    The Gosport deaths case goes back to 1988, according to the 2013 report by Professor Richard Baker into patient care that found evidence of an "almost routine use of opiates."

    "It cannot be ruled out that a small number of [patients] would otherwise have been eventually discharged from hospital alive," Professor Baker's report said.

    Since the start of the first probe, inquests in 2009 and 2013 looked into the deaths of patients linked to Dr. Jane Barton who worked at Gosport and who was found guilty of "multiple instances of serious professional misconduct" by the General Medical Council in 2010.

    The outcome of the fresh inquiry, also linked to the death certificates signed by Dr. Barton, is to be presented on June 20. The families of the patients who died while in hospital care are expected to receive answers on the circumstances of their deaths.

    Former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, who led the Hillsborough inquiry, is heading the probe into the deaths of reportedly more than 92 people, whose cases are already investigated by the police. 

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    Tags:
    prescription medication, hospital, doctors, deaths, drugs, National Health Service (NHS), United Kingdom, England
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